President Coolidge came down in a railroad train
With a little fat man with a note-pad in his hand
The President say, “Little fat man isn’t it a shame what the river has done
To this poor crackers land.”
Randy Newman “Louisiana 1927”
The song is based on actual events that occurred in Louisiana just before the Great Depression. The President of the United States went down to Louisiana back in 1927 and declared it an absolute disaster. It may be interesting to note that Jim Beviglia interpreted the final verse of the song as the President “ … surveys the carnage and makes a callous remark that shows little sympathy for all the human suffering around him. “ No word if President Calvin Coolidge blamed the Louisiana Governor at the time for not being prepared.
Back during the initial pork barrel protest, I made the point that Noynoy shifted with the wind. He first downplayed the protest then claimed he was united with the protestors. During the eve of the strongest storm ever, he performed a preemptive boast of zero casualties. He is not Joe Namath and this is not Super Bowl III. This was not a football game, lives were at stake. Three days later when it was very evident that he was gravely mistaken he blamed local authorities and then walked out on them. Does that chain of events lead you to believe this guy knows what he is doing? You may recall in my last blog I described a relative who confronted me that my work here in GRP was lies. He did not want to hear about the walkout in Tacloban that happened hours earlier. This will come as no surprise to anyone but Noynoy is quick to brag but seems to be devoid of any accountability and humility. In his prime Muhammad Ali did not show an ounce of humility. Though Ali unlike Noynoy was the Greatest. Noynoy is just PCOS (President Cory’s Only Son).
A few months ago I authored the blog Zen and The Art of Noytard Maintenace. Trying to explain why people jumped on the bandwagon rather enthusiastically of someone who never showed anyone in fifty years the capacity to lead, govern or handle crisis. The blog also attempted to explain why some people still stick to their guns and defend him despite his many gaffes in his 3 1/2 years as president. To the point that you believe they would die for him. In the process I highly recommended Robert Pirsig’s novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Reading it again almost twenty years after I first read it helps me make sense of the situation the country finds itself in today. It helps explain the flailing public servant we have before us.
Lee: Don’t think. FEEL. It’s like a finger pointing at the moon.
[Looks at student who is looking at the finger; smacks student again]
Lee: Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of the heavenly glory!
Robert Pirsig’s book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is about one’s journey from point A to point B with some paradigm definitions and redefinitions along the way. The narrator talks about a journey that was attempted in India. A pilgrimage to holy Mount Kailas. The person embarking on that journey was physically capable as well as sufficiently motivated in the intellectual sense. Despite having those two characteristics the person begged off after the third day. Upon reflection the person felt that he was being unconsciously selfish. He was taking on the journey for his own personal reasons. The pilgrimage is actually a two way street. Just undertaking the physical distance is not what its all about. It is what you learn in that effort that makes the experience what it is. You also have to make that journey between your two ears.
When you try to climb a mountain to prove how big you are, you almost never make it. And even if you do it’s a hollow victory. In order to sustain the victory you have to prove yourself again and again in some other way, and again and again and again, driven forever to fill a false image, haunted by the fear that the image is not true and someone will find out. That’s never the way.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance p 210-211
The key there is sustained victory. The problem with Noynoy like I said about 32 times before is he was presented to the Filipino voters as this blank slate. No mention was made in his campaign of pilgrimages completed. The only mention was Mama and Papa. What does he know about victory let alone sustaining it? That infernal yellow ribbon has come to symbolize evasiveness and excuse making. That ribbon has its origins in his family. It was brand differentiation during the election and it did not magically turn into a unifying symbol for the entire country. For him it is always about how big he is and how big the family is. Someone please tap him on the shoulder and tell him he is there to help make the whole country big.
That phrase is powerful “ driven forever to fill a false image“. He willingly signed up to be President of a third world country. His campaign slogan strongly suggested he had the answers to poverty and corruption. Yet he could not even answer what he was doing in his own life that warranted such a raise in payscale. Noynoy had a million dollar casing coupled with a pocket calculator CPU. He is all icing and no cake as Scott van Pelt would say. That is driven forever to fill a false image. One who never acknowledges any internal flaw. One who believes the blame is always out there. Not exactly the kind of person you want quarterbacking the effort to minimize the damage and casualties of a record breaking storm. We have no way of knowing how many but the decision we as a country made back in May 2010 has cost lives. More than it should. That is my opinion based on paying attention to media outlets not named ABS CBN.
Kirk: A no-win situation is a possibility every commander may face. Has that never occurred to you?
Saavik: No, sir, it has not.
The Wrath of Khan (1982)
You want me to be “positive”? Somewhere along the line when that horrible storm hit. The thought might have hit Noynoy that here is one thing he can’t pin on his predecessor. Maybe three years too late but better late than never in his case. Just because you were elected President of the Philippines, by no stretch of the imagination does that mean you have the tools to execute your duties. The country was dealt a bad hand no argument there. Then Noynoy should not have made headlines assuming he had a straight flush before the cards were dealt. Then once the cards were dealt he can’t just conveniently absolve himself. Oh , my bad. I am talking as if I expected Noynoy to face the music and be accountable. I won’t make that mistake again. All he cares about is looking good even if it means others look bad. When I say others I mean people who survived a once in a lifetime disaster who have not even begun to mourn their dead or even have a roof to go home to. How self absorbed do you have to be to tell people who faced that , it is their fault?? Granted the guy is Kris Aquino’s brother. He was in a no win scenario but feel free Noynoy not to make it worse with your lack of empathy and people skills.
He was trying to use the mountain for his own purposes and the pilgrimage too. He regarded himself as the fixed entity, not the pilgrimage or the mountain, and thus wasn’t ready for it. He speculated that the other pilgrims, the ones who reached the mountain, probably sensed the holiness of the mountain so intensely that each footstep was an act of devotion, an act of submission to this holiness. The holiness of the mountain infused into their own spirits enabled them to endure far more than anything he, with his greater physical strength, could take.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance p.211
Noynoy in the headline implies that he did all he can do. To quote the band Twisted Sister “If that’s your best you best won’t do”. Anybody who says Noynoy has the best intentions is just full of it. If Noynoy really cared about this country then he really should have looked at his own abilities in relation to the country’s goals, current challenges and potential challenges. It is a bit like a SWOT. Though the way it was taught to me it is really TOWS. Pirsig talks about his protagonist seeing himself as the fixed entity and this held him back. Let me ask you a question. Isn’t that how Hong Kong/ China sees Noynoy ever since that fateful night of August 2010? Maybe I am an idealist but shouldn’t someone who ends up as president of anything be someone who has shown capacity to improve and adapt over time as well as continue to improve and adapt once they have that position? You are welcome to shoot me in the head with a Magnum if you honestly believe I described Benigno Simeon “Blank Slate” Aquino III. But no, this country picked a guy whose mom died. No experience necessary. And I am the one who is negative??
Speaking of the position of President. Noynoy in the Pirsig sense saw no holiness to it. He may have seen opportunity but not for the country. He saw opportunity for his family and his extended family. That’s why he seems so out of place in many aspects of his role as president. All his gusto goes into his vindictiveness and his motherhood statements there is nothing left for the rest of his obligations. He tells you that each and everyday he adorns the yellow ribbon as “your president”. Look at his history as president and you make up your own mind if he is “infused by the spirits ” of the whole country when he acts on the Bangsamoro Framework, RA 10175 , Pork Barrel , Impeachment of Corona and finally Yolanda.
My opinion is Noynoy has always used the presidency (the mountain) for the purpose of a very small select group. Maybe I am naive to expect him to treat the position with some holiness considering the responsibilities the voters saw fit to give him. Either way you can’t convince me that his footsteps since assuming the position was an act of devotion to the people who voted him in. Whatever reason gave him the belief that he had the skill set to lead this country over a six year term I am sure came more intrinsic purpose than holistic purpose. He is president because he can in this dysfunctional society. It has never occurred to him to give that a moment’s thought if he should. He would have given it far more thought if he felt the holiness of the mountain.
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