COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo
We have recently held the 2007 national and local elections and as usual, plagued with elite politics with the domination of political clans, only this time with more players joining in the fray. Personality and money contests will continue to be the norm in our electoral exercise for as long as our highest form of loyalty is towards the family or the clan.
The clan’s interest does not necessarily represent the majority of the electorate; hence, once in power, is more likely to spend people’s money abroad or direct its rule in simply securing its wealth and acquired status.
Not only is there a failure in democracy, but the majority of the populace, or those belonging to clans not in power will be disenfranchised. It is a case of imperialism within; with the ruling clans exploiting and taking advantage over the others. It does not only support bad government but bodes for bad karma.
There is a need for us to raise our level of loyalty to the nation, to the greater community, to the higher collective. The problem with us is that we only remember our being Filipinos when we are faced with foreigners or working abroad or in times of war. Solidarity in the national level is more required in times of peace, for stability and growth.
One way is to gather those elements that give us a sense of oneness as a nation, a sense of belonging to one great community, like our heritage. These are the things we inherit from our ancestors and from the past. We have our local dialects, our historical structures like old churches, forts and old houses, period pieces of dresses and furniture, house and working implements, native foods and delicacies, and certain cultural traditions that bind us as a people aside from literature and the arts.
Heritage is not just something to treasure and be proud of, or displayed as a tourist attraction—do we always have to sell our soul? Primarily, we need it to provide us a sense of self, to give us personality and character, and to build our self-esteem. Heritage makes us distinct as a people, and gives us a distinctive advantage in this global community.
Our lack of sense of being a nation not only prolongs our internal conflicts, but makes us prey to external forces. Our national leaders are prone to negotiate out of fear, giving in and accommodating to foreign demands at the slightest agitation, when there is really no need to do so.
Now as much as we detest imperialism by another state, we must first abolish imperialism within, moving above the culture of the clan, to a society where the measure of man is man. Once united as a nation, we will be strong, respected, and like our early forefathers, free men.