Same old faces, same old farces.
Same old names, same old games.
Such is the painfully hilarious nature of our national politics.
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As the 2013 Philippine midterm elections quickly drew to a close, we stood witness to what our collective action has produced, to what our very own brand of democracy has to offer; a social machine constantly churning out the same old brand of politicians people have somewhat gotten used to. Politicians who â€œgovernedâ€ our country into disarray as we see today, and will continue to do so as sanctioned by our right to suffrage. Politicians who twist elections into a grotesque game; a game of whose kin rules the longest. Politicians who are plenty of charisma yet perfectly devoid of substance. Politicians who turned civil processes into a â€œmarketâ€ of names and faces.
We call it traditional politics. We call them traditional politicians. Trapos. Donâ€™t we find it insulting that we as a society have reached a consensus accepting that incompetence, corruption and nepotism are part of our tradition? That such traits so unbecoming of public servants are accepted to constitute our culture and heritage?
Of course not. We are so absorbed by the antics and catchy jingles and advertisements our political candidates never fail to supply us to be even bothered by such moral scrutiny. We are so preoccupied with exercising thisâ€¦ democracy of choosing politicians whose names and commercials we remember to even give such trivialities a thought. We are so, so deep down in the mud we call conformity and normality that we have accepted such atrocities as a part of our daily lives. Electing the same names into office unflinchingly is the norm. Having the sons and daughters of old timers in politics lead us, to be replaced in turn by their own sons and daughters is tradition. It is our system. It is our culture. It is right.
For this system, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for some, has become commonplace. The numbing idiocy that pervades the air of our nation has intoxicated inquisitive minds into docility, and perhaps killed any possibility of their resurgence. The embrace of corrupted normality has provided the people with comfort.
We know they might as well be like their fathers or mothers, but at least we know what will happen. We already see whatâ€™s coming. We experience it all the time. There is no longer room for surprises. And that, perhaps, would be for the best.
The rampant ignorance, the seemingly endless intellectual exploitation, withering economics, deteriorating human relations; all of these, counter-intuitively, have given Juan a sense of security. Ironically, the evils that breed in our society have granted him peace.
Peace without change. Peace to watch a soap opera in the guise of politics. Peace to continue conforming and normalizing to whatever moral-social mutation our country has produced in its submersion in media and political propaganda walking hand in hand. Peace to continue admiring aristocrats starring in TV programs, showcasing their children, luxuries and private lives to the toiling masses, as if telling us to strive to be like them. Peace in enduring pain. Peace nonetheless!
Peace nonetheless, indeed! And so, to the perpetuation of peace, we once again turn on the social machine. Churn out more of those politicians we have come to accept, flaws and flaws and flaws and flaws and all. Admire their charisma. Vote them into office. And the peace prolongs. Long live democracy!
Change is too foreign, too radical. It shakes the thorny cradles we have grown so accustomed to. Change is too brutal, too heedless of our plight for normality. It does not wait for us to catch up. Change is intolerant of tradition. It is beyond the system. Unjust. Wrong. Long live democracy!
Change is overrated anyway. Besides, the ones elected today look kind. They have funny commercials, and I easily remember their names. They might not be so bad. Long live democracy!
We stand in a timeless ground. Unceasing propagation of mediocrity in our unchanging society. Blatant indifference. Minds unmindful. Hearts unfeeling. Souls unflinching. It happens over and over again; a time loop.
Perhaps, change has no place here. Perhaps, in our collective, dazed, masochism, we have embraced with open arms that which continue to chain us to the dullness of unthinking. Resisting is uncomfortable. Change is uncomfortable. It is beyond the system. Unjust. Wrong.
Long live democracy.