When will Filipinos stop being such pussies about their future? At the moment, they are in the midst of a frenzy to nominate people who are all about the past and offer nothing to the future. As if it weren’t enough that Filipinos find some sort of perverse comfort in dwelling in the past, they also bizarrely dwell on what is absent from that past.
A good example is the idiotic thinking Filipinos apply to taking stock of a politician’s track record of performance. Rather than count points for things that were achieved, Filipinos prefer to highlight what wasn’t done. So it’s hardly surprising that politicians with no achievement emerge as the most popular. The way Filipino’s think goes like this:
Grace Poe hasn’t stolen anything; therefore she’ll make a good president.
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Or this gem:
Leni Robredo’s husband is no longer alive; therefore she’ll make a good vice president.
In the earlier it is the absence of a behaviour and, in the latter, it is the abrupt absence of a loved one.
What is the logic behind this sort of dysfunctional thinking? This collective approach to choosing presidents and vice presidents seems to be an outgrowth of Filipinos’ perverse way of practicing their Roman Catholic faith. It’s like Filipinos see politicians with dead parents and spouses as some sort of Jesus Christ figure. And that’s probably it.
Perhaps Filipinos suffer from serious Jesus issues at a national scale.
When you suffer from a bad case of Jesus issues, everything is all about “sacrifice”.
The thinking underpinning that condition is the notion that by and of itself, “sacrifice” gets handsomely rewarded. So, it seems, Filipinos think that when they elect a sacrificial politician, they will get a leader whose leadership chops are guaranteed by a heavenly kingdom that lavishes rewards on people who “sacrifice”.
So here is the problem that begs an obvious solution:
How do you cure a people who suffer from a bad case of Jesus issues?
It might help to find a more familiar, more readily-digestible analogue to this national condition: women with daddy issues. Women with daddy issues seem to be unable to form healthy relationships with men. Why? Because they grew up with a flawed role model for malehood. The highly-respected Urban Dictionary defines a girl with daddy issues as “A girl wanting to be submissive and adored by an older guy, who will put her above all others.”
Barbara Greenberg, PhD a “clinical psychologist who specializes in treating family, children, and adolescents” offers this snippet of insight on how women with daddy issues often miss out on the real deal because of a flawed mechanism for evaluating the characters of the men they meet…
You know the expression; you’ve probably heard a million of your friends say it: “He’s too nice.” It’s because that person probably is a really good person, and they’re not used to that. They don’t express the same kind of arousal; it’s not appealing to them. They are used to a lot more emotional volatility, people being loud, fighting, conflict. And that works for them, it’s sad to say. Unless they’ve been in therapy for three years, but most often it’s not until after their first or second divorce.
It all sounds quite familiar now, doesn’t it?
Filipinos seem to have been raised on a primitive flavour of Catholicism — one where emphasis was on the aspect of Jesus Christ’s teachings that revolved around a promise of everything after death on the back of “sacrifice” in this life. This sort of messed-up way of regarding life is what makes Filipinos so susceptible to bowing down to and eating off the palms of politicians who pitch themselves in the same way. Their “sacrifice” is their people’s salvation. Like Jesus Christ. Only better — because rewards in life are promised by these earthly prayerful people with a choir of dead people who will be watching over them from heaven (presumably) during their term of office.
Like women with daddy issues, Filipinos with Jesus issues will never go for politicians that apply a level head, systematic problem solving skills, and mature grace in the way they conduct themselves as top officials of the Republic. Instead they will go for the emotional basket cases; the ones who regard everything as a Laban (“fight”), the ones who are likely to polarise an entire nation by making their government a never-ending us-versus-them proposition, the ones whose psyches are hopelessly messed up by a recent loved one dying violently, abruptly, and senselessly.
These people will make their entire term of office all about making sense of their tragedy and their “sacrifice”. In short, their administrations will be all about them.
Filipinos deserve those sorts of politicians — because rather than bravely overcome their Jesus issues, they, instead, prefer to rest assured within the comfy embrace of this national pathological condition.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.