Playing politics in all spheres of our social life-A A +A
Monday, October 8, 2012
A THICK wall of cloud covered the glory of the sun until it was swallowed by the darkness. I was disappointed. I love sunsets and I thrill at the multi-colored horizon painted by the sun as it sets in the west. Tomorrow, I will wait. Nothing was lost, a promise kept, never broken in a relationship.
The sun always went and returned for as long as earth and sun kept to their kind of dance and earth circling around its axis does not stray from its orbit. It never did and their lies the certainty of this faith that I can always come back and wait. There will always be sunrises and sunsets – an endless cycle that allowed mankind to count their days and years of fleeting consciousness and memories.
If it were left to simply counting days, say I had risen early among the birds in the wilderness to watch the spectacle of colors as the sun returned and earth swallowed back the darkness. That spectacle is repeated in reverse at sunset. This cycle makes sense especially when you could hardly tell the difference between your right and left - a disease among countless many that pricks our short memories and fickle mindedness. In our limited sense of being, we yearn for meaning that could only be grasped in relationships that are predictable, if not reliable. Beyond that people are without faith, just restless spirits strung from their orbits into decay with its bitterness, unmet needs and wants.
And so the days and years of our lives came and went. We remember only those that we want and forget the rest. We lived fuelled mostly by the satisfaction and gratification of our lusts. Money and power and the control of resources and people’s lives, exactly politics for conveniences, was and remains as the all consuming axis and orbit that we danced to until now. It was not a politics of ideas and making governance work well that we got. Worse, it made common victims of us all. This kind of political exercise is not making a dedicated and reliable citizenry devoted to nationhood and the advancement of the general welfare.
In the Philippines, the practice of politics and its wits now confuse us as to the meaning of governance. Over the years, in our experience, leaders simply copy or mouth good words about good government on the campaign trail that has no meaning to them once they are in power. Nothing matters to practical Pinoys who have no need for heaven but the perks of earthly rule and power. The tribal government of old is far better in all aspects but one. It was crude and adhered to core human values for the protection of the life of the tribe.
Tribal government then were collegially administered by old men who are respected by members because of their wisdom. They had wisdom because they shared responsibility among their peers and were focused and concerned about their words and examples. Individually and collectively, they can be blunt with you on the conducts of life in its various stages, shapes and forms. On certain occasions, you are simply admonished to go talk to the wind, or count time – sunrises and sunsets in the fields or in the woods – get old and become wise, if you must despise their decisions, or desire the wine that they drink and the food they eat. You can actually connect to them in the discourse of relationships; sunrise-sunset, man-woman, father-son, rice-water in the practical or austere sense, mostly respectful but otherwise make them laugh.
Government, religion and education combined their attacks and criticisms against the institutions and practices of the old folks in our highland villages. These were continually maligned as pagan, barbaric if not satanic. If such labels were trained against their accusers, it would have been readily condemned as malicious, libelous and such other things that destroy the honor and respectability of men and institutions. The tribal institutions were not understood and forsaken. In their time, rape and murder of women in villages, and a host of other crimes associated to barbarism and Satanism that vexes the current generation were unknown. One may acknowledge the practice of head hunting as a bad practice in the past but that is rather extreme and associated to the practice of wars and the breaking of peace among tribes. In most cases, tribes aggressively pursued peace than war through the forging of “pechen or peden,” otherwise known as peace pact. They knew better the benefits of peace to enhance commerce and the sharing of the natural wealth among their tribes.
All around me, I am conscious of the parceling of lands as private properties including those that were common to a village or community. The forest and watersheds, all common resources are either owned or made wastes. In some communities, rice fields are mined for gold and the young are building tunnels below sacred ground. I mean the village of long ago. The dap-ays are still there but have effectively ceased or are practically dead as social and sacred institutions. It is used by the young to drink their beverages or play cards. The conversations of the old folks about mountain life has not been effectively joined by the succeeding generations but silenced by pretentious forces that did not really mean well to care for what they have orphaned. That is simply winning some battle to gratify one’s lust for power and control of resources and people – plain politics in all spheres of pursuits as we understand politics now.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 09, 2012.