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As I See It
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
OUR Political Science professor used to tell us a story of an old man in a village whose advice is sought after by the politicians in the town. One day, there was a councilor seeking for reelection that went to him. "Old man, I want to win again. I am aiming to be the number one councilor. This time, I have sufficient logistics for the campaign trail. Help me. I am your friend."
The old man answered, "I am very generous with friendship but I believe that the language of friendship is not words but meaning. Last time, you asked for help. I gave you plenty. I am doubtful if you followed my piece of heart and mind. Honestly, I discourage you from run for reelection. Your wife came to me last week. She told me that you have a mistress. You have provided her an apartment and she is receiving a sweet monthly allowance.
"Your wife continued, 'I worked hard for our business and my husband is just spending our hard-earned money for his crazy politics and the other woman.'" The old man looked straight into the politician's eyes. "Your wailing wife is just a concerned mother who does not want to ruin the family by losing her husband that way."
The old man spoke like a father to his son. "Your family is your asset. Preserve it. Give your best. Do not burn the vine that bears your fruits. Your wife is the queen of your home. Do not give the crown that she deserves to a maid-in-waiting. Do not let a fancy woman hold your scepter. You have been there in the municipal council for three years. You are chairman of two important committees but I can't remember any ordinance that you have passed. You cannot even draft a resolution."
The councilor was silent for a moment. "But, I contribute to fiestas, beauty pageants and cock fighting operators. Am I not sharing, old man? I even invite the mayor, the vice-mayor, the other councilors and the barangay captains to my birthday. I spent a lot for their food and beer. They are my political alliance. They love me for that."
The old man answered, "Those are your personal rights. I respect you for that. Do you know that your brother has been long sick? He is skin and bones. He may have the chance to live if he eats good food and is given medical attention. Yes, you gave him money. How much was that? When was that? You cannot even remember. That was a long time ago. He is your brother-blood of your blood. His children are out of school. His wife is vending on a meager capital just to buy a kilo of rice, to buy his medicine."
The councilor did not answer the old man. He knew that the man of wisdom was right. He was so ashamed. While he spent big money for his cockfighting and mahjong, the sisters of his brother's wife were out begging generous individuals and institutions to save the life of his brother.
The old man uttered with disgust, "Your politics is your social obligation but good politics should start from the heart and home. You may fool your constituents by pretending what you are not; but you cannot fool your conscience and God."
That politician did not listen to the old man. He ran again. Our professor did not finish the story. He simply told us, "If you were voters, you could have followed the thought of Plato or else, you will end up being governed by your inferiors."
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 08, 2013.