IT gets clearer by the day that people’s reaction to President Rodrigo Duterte’s words and actions are determined by deep-seated cultural biases.
On one side of the divide, the privileged controllers of the old socio-economic order, oligarchs and their alter egos in government, will always be against anything threateningly untraditional that the Duterte administration might be doing. Unfortunately, their noise is what is heard and reacted to by similarly biased double-talking first world leaders because they have resources like mainstream big media networks that they use to steer public opinion in their favor.
On the other is the rest of the country, the un-listened to millions who have been excluded politically and economically by corrupt and non-transparent traditional economics and governance. Duterte’s coarse language is no issue to them who have never benefitted from the honeyed words of hypocritical leaders. Nor is foreign aid any big deal to them because this has mostly lined the pockets of politicians and hardly reached down to them to improve their lives.
These economically determined and conflicting biases of people are subconsciously irreconcilable. They can argue for their positions until kingdom come but “never shall the twain meet.” Only the results can settle the issue of whether or not Duterte is doing it right.
Christians are familiar with Jesus’s ”By their fruits you will know them.” We already know the fruits (poverty, ignorance and ill-health of small farmers and ordinary workers) of the corrupt, non-transparent politics and exclusive economics of traditional leaders. Maybe we ought to wait for the fruits of the Duterte administration’s non-traditional approaches to the country’s long standing problems.
Anyway, short of a military coup (God forbid because that would only benefit the top but sink the masses down to a more abysmal economic hole) we are really stuck with this administration for the next six years. But yes, not just with Duterte alone but with his whole administration that includes people I know to be men and women of proven nationalism.
Besides, we must not forget Albert Einstein’s sane warning not to expect a different result from doing the same thing over again. Thus, we cannot continue with our traditional “the-poor-are-poor-because-they-are-lazy” economics and “buy-the-poor” politics without expecting the same dire results.
President Duterte is saying and doing things differently to the loud consternation of an influential few and to the muted but hopeful approval of the heretofore excluded many. But at least he is walking his talk and is not your typical sweet-talking but do-nothing (for the underprivileged) leader of past administrations.