Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Carvajal: Bacterium of politics

PATHOGENIC bacterium or bacillus causes disease and, if uncontrolled, death among humans. There is, however, a bacterium that energizes the infected person but causes suffering and even death to other people.

I am talking of the bacterium of politics. Those infected or sick with it spring to life during an election period. But after winning the election the bacillus renders politicians neglectful of their constituents, leaving them to suffer from ill-health, ignorance, joblessness and even death by a number of poverty-related causes.

This political bacillus rules life in this country. Like when there is a drought, it drives politicians to search for water through lengthy summit meetings. Sure enough after so much publicity they come up with doable solutions that they entrust to a task force to implement.

But as soon as rains start to fall, all plans are put on hold for further discussion in the next incidence of a drought. Yet again when the rain gets to be too heavy as to cause destructive flooding, the bacterium of politics enlivens politicians this time to discuss plans for flood prevention and control, the likes of drainage improvement, water-impounding systems, etc.

But when the last drop of rain would have fallen, all flood control and drainage improvement plans would have also been washed away until the bacterium comes alive again in the next floods and brings politicians back to the planning table.

When Covid-19 first burst into the scene politicians were frantic not only to control its spread but also to plan for how to prepare, restructure, our public health system to face future pandemics. But now that a vaccine is here, there is historical precedent and cause for worry that the political bacterium will act up and put on hold all the good plans for strengthening our public health system.

Opposition politicians will slow down or even block any attempt of the incumbent administration to strengthen our public health system. They will want to do it themselves and so solemnly promise it in their next run for office.

Yet, if and when they win, the bacterium will make them forget their promise. If another pandemic comes around the bacterium will simply energize winning candidates to start planning all over again.

Covid-19 has exposed critical vulnerabilities in our health, education, political, economic and even religious systems. Yet there is hardly any sign in all these areas that in the next pandemic, which is sure to come in our future, all these systems would have been overhauled to meet the challenge more effectively.

What we need is a (cultural?) vaccine that would immunize our leaders from the incompetence-and-corruption-inducing bacterium of politics.


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