Pandemic blues. It appears that the pandemic has also affected the mindset of the Opposition. Millennials and those younger than them are all criticizing the government for its pandemic response. You see them on Twitter manifesting mental weakness. They are the biggest voting bloc. These 21-49 year olds number 40 million as of the last census. Philippine Star columnist Boo Chanco, for example, is a senior citizen who is deathly scared of Covid and seemingly expresses this in his piece today “Herd immunity by Christmas”. Who wouldn’t be? Pre-pandemic, he would hie off to the US on an extended vacation to visit his children. This is the average higher income Pinoy family set-up. Not much of a future for the children here. Better to send them abroad to North America — or Singapore, where another child of Chanco is based. Nonetheless Chanco waxes optimistic writing how it is “good to dream big, but the people must be told how the government plans to make this dream happen. Right now, based on what we are seeing, it seems a dream too big, but a dream we hope we will realize as promised.”
My Fil-Am friends tell me the US is set to reopen this July. But the US has never been totally shut down. In March 2020 as the lockdown was about to take effect, it hit me that the pandemic would be bad for those who lack mental fortitude and those who have a need to attend social functions in order to feel relevant. Like it or not, there is a bit of narcissism in every one of us. It is borne out of a need for validation and it is more prevalent in Philippine society because of its social tenets. Achievement is measured in the amount of wealth you have and all that comes with it. I’ve seen this even at the level of the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who returns to his hometown after a long absence. I’ve seen it in the Bay Area where Pinoys working at the San Francisco International Airport will not speak to you in Pilipino, but will answer your question in American-accented English when you ask them in Pilipino. It is all about one-upmanship.
So now all of a sudden it’s not doom-and-gloom for those who regard President Rodrigo Duterte with disdain since he became President. The vaccines are arriving. Herd immunity is within reach. We’ll soon be back to normal. We can vote in the coming election, hopefully. The virus is still evolving so I will take everything with a grain of salt. There might be new variants aside from the Indian ones. Epidemiologists have said that vaccines don’t prevent infection but only temper the severity of the same. Booster shots may be required in the future. Containment is still an issue as seen in the recent cases of Singapore Thailand, Taiwan and Japan.
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Unfortunately, even in light of all this, the Opposition fails to step up and uplift its rhetoric. Its members are like children who throw temper tantrums and are appeased only later on after they get what they want. It makes you wonder how they can claim they can do better than Duterte with this kind of mindset. I’ve come to think that the whole caboodle is a collection of individuals with narcissistic personality disorder. They claim Duterte is a narcissist but this is just them doing an unoriginal take of what was levelled by US media against former US President Donald Trump. Think about how they don’t respond well to criticism and cannot engage in a rational argument without resorting to insults. Think of how they devalue the masa by labelling them “bobotante”. Think of how they can’t accept the consequences of their actions. They always lay the blame on other persons much like how former President Noynoy Aquino did with his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. But the best proof thus far is how they put down a septuagenarian, Duterte, and a nonagenarian, Juan Ponce Enrile, who engaged in an interesting discussion about the South China Sea dispute the other night. The President was humble enough and the former Senator was like a professor teaching a graduate student about the nuances of government, foreign policy and geopolitics.
All the important insights brought to light by the two men seem to have been lost to supposedly seasoned “journalists” and so-called “intellectuals” like Inday Espina Varona and Richard Heydarian. Rather than address the points raised in that conversation, Varona makes low-brow crack about Enrile’s age “imagining formaldehyde wafting from [her] micro screen”. Heydarian, for his part, can only propose that Enrile shut up on account or his age. “Pahinga muna po MANG J,” he says. Agism is an ironic part of the disente arsenal, it seems. For his part, human rights honcho Caloy Conde shows how much of an ideas man he is exhibiting a typically-schoolyard taunt in place of valid arguments that address the issue.
Indeed, it would really help the cause of the opposition if they out forth their ideas on “enforcement” and addressed the issue of how Scarborough Shoal was lost during the time of Aquino, former Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, former Ambassador Jose Cuisia, and former Senator Antonio Trillanes. It’s easy to make a meme but hard to sell your version of the truth if it’s based on a lie.
The problem with the Opposition is this is what they always resort to when faced with the others side of an issue which they are using against the government. This is why they don’t register with the public as credible. Respect is a major virtue the Opposition lacks. It is different when the shoe is on the other foot as we have seen how then Senate President Enrile deferred to President Aquino. The Spanish refer to it as urbanidad y civilidad and the opposition sorely lacks both.
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