Let me talk about the celebrations in December aside from Christmas. For activists, this starts with the 10th, Human Rights Day. The adoption of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1950 was supposed to be a world milestone. But it has largely been forgotten and remembered only by a select few. Governments are ignoring the contents of the declaration. Reminds me of the question why mountaineers climb Mt. Everest. The answer: because it is there. So why would human rights activists remember the declaration? Because it was once adopted.

The second celebration is one remembered only by members of the Communist Party of the Philippines or CPP, their fans and their enemies. Enemies? Yes. Because I am sure the national body tasked to wipe out the insurgents will be busy as well on December 26, the founding anniversary of the CPP. Remember Jose Ma. Sison, who recently died in exile? He was the CPP founding chairman. If we believe the government, the CPP force has dwindled, but the party has refused to become irrelevant.

For everybody else, the celebration of Christmas is followed by the New Year. The year 2023 is also an election year with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections having been rescheduled to October. The barangay and SK elections are the most postponed in the country. Lawmakers do not respect them, neither have Presidents. Yet the barangay officials and SK leaders are the most relied upon machinery by politicians.

Expect the local politicians to dip their dirty fingers into the polls because the next midterm elections are just around the bend. They also want to win the midterms. So 2023 is important for them. This is not so in the US because the next presidential polls there will be in 2024. But 2023 is important because former president Donald Trump has already announced his intention to be the standard bearer again of the Republican Party against US President Joe Biden, a Democrat.

The far right led by Trump is on the defensive in the US. In the Philippines, while President Bongbong Marcos is not necessarily the ideal liberal democrat, his rule is more moderate than that of his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte. The far right in the country has thus been muted. They will have to wait for the presidential bid of Sara Duterte in 2028 when the political wind seems to be favoring the left of center.

If Trump is used as the political barometer, far right thinking is on an ebb. The far right failed to make a dent in the midterm elections in the US and some people are blaming Trump for the debacle. If he is indicted for the January 6 attempted coup there, the far right will again be pushed to the corner. After the disastrous rule of far right thinking, liberal democratic thought is trending once more.

In the Philippines, the far right will be tested if Marcos fails to right the economy. His followers will be disillusioned in the homestretch. That will give a chance for the liberals to resurrect themselves.