Leaders of today’s Philippine Opposition will have us believe that democracy is in crisis — even in decline (horrors!) — and, as such, heralding a coming era of doom and gloom for the nation in the coming years. They, of course, attribute this unfortunate prognosis to the government of President Rodrigo Duterte who, since Day One of his presidency, they have been painting as evil incarnate.
Why is Duterte “evil” according to his critics? Well, it’s because he is supposedly “undemocratic” in his style of governance. Okay then, let’s say for argument’s sake that everything about Duterte is “undemocratic” (despite the fact that no sound evidence to support this assertion has so far been put forth by the Opposition). Then ask: So what?
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If the Philippines under Duterte’s government becomes “less democratic” compared to, say, the way it was under his predecessor, former President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III, is that necessarily a bad thing? The Philippines, after all, is a southeast Asian nation. Very few, if any, southeast Asian nations are democratic in the sense of the word that Duterte’s critics in the Opposition are comfy with. For that matter, no southeast Asian nation even aspires to be as democratic as Western Europe and the United States would like their former colonies to be.
There is a lesson here that the Opposition need to learn if they want to start winning elections again. Filipinos don’t really give a rat’s arse about “human rights”, “press freedom”, “gender equality”, polite talk, and all those chi chi Up the Hill ideals the Yellowtard-led Opposition keep harping about. What they do care about, however, is being a great nation. Being “undemocratic” does not necessarily preclude becoming a great nation. Ask Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and even Japan. These countries became great not on the back of democracy but despite pressure from the West to be “more democratic”.
It is, quite simply, not in the national character and, evidently, not in the regional character, to be “democratic” in the way Uncle Sam wants us to be.
Therein lies the lesson the Opposition need to apply to their strategy to win the next election. They should ditch the melodrama of the Yellowtard narrative and compete with a campaign platform that focuses more on national greatness and less on the prayerful rhetoric of “martyred heroes” who died “fighting” for “freedom”. The latter is, quite frankly, old and tired. More importantly, it is as obsolete as the ideology of the terrorist groups they foolishly ally themselves with today.
Democracy is a nice and peachy way of governing people. But there is the old colonial way of practicing democracy and there is the southeast Asian way. It’s time the Philippines become a real southeast Asian nation.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.