Sounds familiar, does it not? Not with apologies to Jonathan Swift but instead I draw inspiration from his classic ‘satire of human folly,’ a parody on human nature: “Gulliver’s Travels.” And from his title we take a punster’s license and attempt to compose a critique on the serial contemporary political and moral quagmire from which we, as a nation, are obviously still unable to extricate. “Still,” so far I say because “hope springs eternal!”
When we speak of Gulliver, we automatically conjure images of “Lilliputians,” caricature of tiny people, pygmies of Swiftian biting humor. In the time and clime we find ourselves at, I am prompted to inquire. Has the destiny of the Philippines been damned by pygmies?
It has been said before and proven many times over that gullibility has dire consequences. What is gullibility, anyway? To begin with, it is really a form of failure, the abject failure of knowing, of being not intelligent enough as a discerning, thinking, voting Filipino. When one is easily deceived, tricked or manipulated, one is gullible. A tendency to believe tabloid headlines and its stories. Taken for a fool. All of the foregoing!
How best to illustrate gullibility? Here is an easy one. An upright citizen casts his ballot in favor of one candidate, who having passed himself off rather successfully as an authority figure, earns the citizen’s vote. The citizen realizes, after the elections, that he has been “taken in” by what has now been proven to have been a political scam! Right from the get-go! Was it not that cheap, populist campaign promise to solve what ails the country in three to six months? And why not, counterfeit credibility premised on riling up fabricated and exaggerated people’s discontent over what was in truth beneficially working, albeit too slowly for many who have been conned into losing faith!
If that also sounds familiar, it is because we are now aware of, and feeling, it. That looming presence over our daily lives is the direst of consequences. Yes, it is the travail of being hoodwinked!
There can no longer be any doubt that the planetary poster child-country of gullibility has got to be our beloved Philippines.And if in fact truly ‘beloved,’ why have we allowed this seemingly recidivist self-flagellation? Masochism not once, not only twice. It has gone serial. Imagine, in one lifetime, four devastating episodes! Marcos, Estrada, Arroyo and the currently still prevailing excruciation, Duterte! Who is to argue that these are not colossal calamities! And come May, the midterm elections for the Republic’s third branch--Congress! Will we allow the ‘gullibles’ to dominate some more? Oh, God forbid!
Our political travails have become national tragedies. All along, all of the time, the peoples’ pocket books, the national morale, our morals and our norms, our very well-being, were stunned and stunted! Unquestionably, gullibility has rendered the Filipino democratic project painfully Sisyphean!
Sisyphean? I guess that merits a little explanation. It is in conformity with the role of a columnist’s supposed punditry: to inform. To entertain, as well. The root word is Sisyphus. It is a tale borrowed from Greek mythology. King Sisyphus was evil and deceitful. The gods punished him by being forced to roll a huge boulder up a hill only for it to roll down when it nears the top. And once more rolling up the boulder, repeating the punishment over again and again for eternity!
Four times in one’s lifetime! Do you know of any other country on earth whose gullibility has allowed such self-damnation again and again? I shall abstain from providing colorfully apt and faithfully descriptive characterization of each of the regime’s infamies. Those are just too well known and now a matter of indelible historical record. Each infamy, especially that of the Marcoses, are well beyond the reach of revisionist forays funded by their illicit wealth.
Instead, let us talk of today, now, because the time seems reasonably well past nigh! Are we sufficiently primed and ready? Are we still incapable of learning from the past? Are we doomed for an excruciating replay because we have failed to learn from history?
We cannot allow ourselves to remain a deceived nation. Deception succeeds only when the gullible is aided by the apathetic. Whose obligation and responsibility is it, therefore, to conquer and overcome the debilitating perfidy spawned by permeating induced ignorance and cultivated gullibility? The threatening march of ignorance must be compelled to halt. There are legions of the committed and the ardent but where is the leadership?
Perhaps it may indeed be providential that the Catholic Church, her bishops and priests, even her holy credo, have already been virulently attacked and abused. And without provocation, too! Have we finally found sufficient justification for defensive action? Who said “the best defense is a good offense?”
Your Reverences, let us not mischaracterize Christianity as cowardly retiring and lethargic simply because Jesus Christ counselled “not to resist evil…..a wicked man” and “turn the other cheek!” Jesus will never countenance His Church and her men and womenfolk becoming an incorrigible bully’s punching bag! Verily, fighting back does not negate Christian kindness and charity.
A re-learning of civics is called for. The politics of the nation is not the exclusive turf of the State! When governance becomes a moral issue, and now that it is irredeemably so, an aggrieved nation hankers for a leader! “Hope springs eternal.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tomas 'Buddy' Gomez III began his professional media career in ABS-CBN's (previously Chronicle Broadcasting Network) DZQL-Radio Reloj in 1957, after which he spent 25 years with the Ayala Group.
In 1986, the then Pres. Cory Aquino appointed him Consul General to Hawaii and later served as her Press Secretary.
During the Ramos administration, he was chairman and president of state-owned IBC-13 Network.
After government service, he became an ‘OFW’ in the U.S., working as front-desk clerk and then assistant general manager of a hotel. He also worked as a furniture and antique restoration specialist.
He is now retired and lives in San Antonio, Texas.
His e-mail is: [email protected]
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.