POPE Francis, addressing the world, was recently reported to say: “We can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.” It is easy to see that this also applies to the future of a country.
Thus, we can only build the future of the Philippines “by standing together, including everyone.” If the problem is defined as too many people living miserable lives in the fringes of society, the solution must logically include the voice of those that the present social order has marginalized.
Unfortunately that is not the case. “Yellowtards” unabashedly push for Duterte’s ouster and reject “Dutertetards” who bullheadedly push back for Duterte as unmitigated solution. What makes matters worse is they widen the political divide by insisting that people stood with either “Yellowtards” or “Dutertetards.” They forget that many who are against Duterte are not “Yellowtards” in the dark sense of the term and that many pro-Duterte people have more between the ears than “Dutertetard” trolls and bullies.
The political left is not much help either. More than any other group they claim sole possession of the correct social analysis and, therefore, of the true solution to our problems. They are so fixated on the trueness of their line that they resort to an armed revolution to impose it on everybody. They live the irony of solving the problem of exclusivity with a most exclusive solution that they draw from a stale ideology and not from a fresh reading of the signs of ever changing times.
For its part, the Catholic Church, a potential social reformer with its gospel message of love, justice and peace, is abdicating this role by its own exclusive style. High-profile judgmental bishops who claim, in so many words and actions, that they alone possess the truth are painting the Catholic Church to a corner. This prevents them from engaging positively not only with the left (that they summarily reject as godless and violent) but also with other Christian sects.
We do not really need Pope Francis to tell us that we cannot exclude anybody and hope to solve the country’s problems. Like what comes after the nasty exchanges between “Yellowtards” and “Dutertetards”? What after the violent confrontations between government forces and the NPA? What after Catholic bishops have fought the left dogma for dogma? And what after a religious leader has judged a secular leader as the “Father of Lies”? (Didn’t Christ say in the gospels: “Judge not so you shall not be judged”?)
What comes after is more discord, deeper enmity, which brings us farther south and away from building our country’s future. The Pope is right: “We can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.”
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 29, 2017.
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