What a difference tears make

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By Jun Sula

Commentary

Thursday, August 7, 2014


IF THE Son of God wept for a reason, it stands to reason that PNoy, a mere mortal even if the son of a hero and a heroine, is entitled to his own.

Yes, tears can be political, too. Remember crocodile tears?

In PNoy's case, to be fair, those are far from being reptilian in character.

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PNoy's tears were probably borne more out of his moral and spiritual conviction – about himself or the rest of us, maybe even versus the rest of us -- than his political condition at the time. But the latter is not entirely irrelevant to what appeared to be his sudden display of his emotional Achilles heel.

Somehow, everyone felt where he was coming from, or those tears.

If people are not appreciative of the sacrifices and pains he has suffered, and the achievements and reforms he has done as moral leader of this country, that only confirms what other presidents and leaders before him had found out: it's largely and hopelessly a thankless job.

It's a sad, sobering truth but not for a leader or President to cry over, especially in public. In private, perhaps.

Charles de Gaulle of France, a steel of a man, cried at her handicapped daughter's grave. But that was private and a thing that is best appreciated in memoirs, not in a SONA. The late US President John F. Kennedy, weighed down by a presidential decision, was captured in a dramatic shot, his back against the camera as he looked out from his office in the White House with his shoulders bent a little forward as if the whole world rested on them. PNoy could have reserved his for August 2 and that would have made a lot of difference, positively.

Tears as they are prone to quick characterization. These are seen usually as a sign of weakness, and weakness begets weakness, or more perception of it, anyway. In a leader, that counts for much, or less.

As it has since happened, there are now unmistakable indications that those tears have triggered various reactions that have portrayed him as either a lame duck, vulnerable and powerless – critical issues for a president with less than two years in office and a lot more on his plate.

Rumors of a coup being plotted by retired generals close to a former president is one such nasty, even wicked, reaction. It might or might not have basis in fact, but just the same it points to PNoy's apparent vulnerability which might prove tempting enough to some disgruntled adventurists.

Jojo Binay's self-serving revelation that he's being considered by PNoy's Liberal Party, a little of an opportunistic stretch aimed to further boost his political stock as presidential bet in 2016, only aggravated PNoy's perceived weakness as political leader. Binay's message is simple: PNoy is so weak politically his endorsement of any LP presidential candidate, whether it's Mar Roxas or whoever, will not make a difference to the result.

Mar Roxas' latest proposal of a second term for PNoy is a feeble attempt, a fool's errand, at shoring up the President's eroded political stature. (Can a President, who has been found to have walked off apparently from his avowed straight path, be deserving of another term?) It's also doubtful if that seemingly selfless suggestion has helped his dwindling popularity as an alternative--- presumptive successor, if you will – to PNoy.

I do not know of a President here or anywhere who cried while delivering a speech as important as a SONA. PNoy's 5th has a Kennedysque ring to it but one could sense a Kafkaesque tone to it as well.
It's fairly gratifying but it doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.

Arguably, PNoy may go down in history as one of the best Presidents, if not the best President, this country has ever had. But that's not saying this country does not need a better one, especially after he choked.

It's a serious thought, if not a scary one, given the uninspiring choices on the horizon and the myriad problems the nation faces on all fronts.

If PNoy didn't shed tears on his Sona, a different story might have come out.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 08, 2014.

Opinion

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