Steering clear from the scary-A A +A
So to speak
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
SO commonplace, and so careless with its sense of plenty! Look, consider the happy-go-lucky habit of grass—defying death, growing wherever it wishes. What else can resist the Grim Reaper’s reckless harvest? Long does it live up to the lyric imagination, leaving Walt Whitman green-eyed with awe at “the beautiful uncut hair of graves.”
Perish the idea of insignificance, this condition of the lowly so intertwined with the political existence of the high and mighty. As long as elections are as perennial as the grass, the downtrodden among us will always be remembered like the dead, pretty much with the fondness of children looking forward to Halloween.
Trick or treat. That’s how voting often ends up, either as make-believe frenzy of expectations or as summons for the soul of the so-called public service. In light of the reported success of the recent barangay elections, disappointment seems misplaced.
Then again, despite the context of popular participation and its peaceful conduct, the ghosts of elections past remain present, stark with its sense of haunting. What holds true the morning after has been nothing short of a nightmare—streets flooded with discarded sample ballots and walls stuck with the dead weight of campaign posters.
Thus the mayor of Cebu City can only wax horrified in the face of the election aftermath worthy of an exorcist’s aid as he “orders city-wide cleanup of poll garbage.” Indeed, nothing is more childish than to expect a clean slate from the usual costume party of the candidates or to fancy their audience to prefer platform over showmanship and the lure of money for name recall.
Remembering the timeless wisdom of Whitman, however, may provide us with a reprieve from the prosaic intimations of gloom especially now that we’re in the mood to be merry with the departed.
Knowing that the science of politics and the art of governance can only hold water when these redound to the uplift of the grassroots—this interweaving metaphor for community and its overarching structures of power—some of us may still brace for the next elections with a Whitmanesque outlook that echoes the poet’s positive vibe from a grassy cemetery, as if each blade of grass were “the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful/ green stuff woven.”
Threaded with sunshine. Or so one of the recent exceptions from the usual rag and boneshop at the heart of bad news appears. Such a surprising departure, indeed, from the way things are—the uphill inroads of local government to make its presence felt in the lives of its far-flung constituency through its “City Hall sa Bukid” program now gaining a toehold in Barangay Taptap.
It may be literally unrealistic, if not over the top, to forecast glimmers of change
up ahead about our political climate. But, hey, suspending disbelief is one calculated risk we must share to steer ourselves clear from the way of the walking dead.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 30, 2013.