AT THE very least it was an appalling display of uncouthness on the part of people of supposed good breeding, who ought to be the epitome of civility. It became even more appalling when the offender refused to apologize to the victims of his ungentlemanly remark. Worst of all, he affronted a fellow senator to defend a presidential candidate who was insulting this country by refusing to face a Senate committee investigating charges of an alle-ged anomaly.

Hence, I was easily in agreement with all the ne-gative reactions print-ed, aired or otherwise shown on television on the incident. But one write-up was especially interesting to me.

Reacting disappointingly to the scandalous behavior of our senators, it wrote about how our officials behaved more like mice than men. It concluded by urging people to vote for men, not mice, in this coming election.

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The old cynic in me puzzled over how the country could get rid of the big mice in its government offices when these have made little mice of many of the rest of the citizenry. They’re all mice for going after the bigger chunk of cheese that is the wealth of this country. Yet they get elected over and over again to do the same thing, which is to eat all the cheese except for some crumbs that they throw at their constituents in order to transform them into greedy little mice.

Our politicians have created us in their own mousy image. They make mice out of us so we would vote for whoever throws us more cheese during election. So now, how can we get rid of them when we have become mice ourselves, in more ways than one, just as greedy as they for the moment’s loot? In more direct language, how can you convince somebody hungry for a meal right this minute to stay off the crumby cheese of a politician’s doleout just because it will ruin his big cheese in the future?

Similarly, the question: “Is the Filipino ready for leaders who could discipline him?” has to be answered with a big fat NO.

There’s litter everywhere. There’s crowding to get into and out of places. There’s just so much lack of discipline on a national scale that one has to doubt if anyone can have a big-enough resolve to discipline us. The only way to go about it is we discipline ourselves first so a disciplinarian leader can emerge.

The big mice are doing not nearly enough to liberate us from the shackles of poverty. It is not a coincidence that we are the basket case of Asia and we have the lowest budget for education and health. A true patriot, not a mouse, is needed to run this country. In this election he might not be perfectly in our sights but that does not really matter. What matters is that we must first refuse to become mice ourselves so men, not mice, will emerge to rule us.