Being Filipino and the Dangers of Hero Worship
Filipinos are extremely loyal, especially to their political ideals. We admire, let me rephrase that, we revere our idols as if they are half gods that has magical powers that will cure the evils of society in a flash. Without even a whimper we hold on to every promise our hero politician does and say.
I remember growing up surrounded by Marcos loyalists, if you were to hear it it felt like Marcos was the messiah that the country was waiting for. It was the 80s and the Marcoses were in control. To a loyalist everything they say and do should be fanatically followed like a religion. They cannot do wrong, he’s the most intelligent leader that the country ever had. He does not do his speeches by reading through it. Does that make him better? Does that make him a better Filipino leader than the ones before him?
Then came the Aquinos and their lineage of surrogates (you have Ramos etc.). Depicted as the ones who “brought back democracy”, we “canonized” them as the guardians of freedom, of everything that is moral and right (this means everything anti-Marcos). We burned the 1973 constitution to give rise to a “better” 1987 version. What defines it better, as the pundits say, is it will protect the Filipinos from a dictatorship and their unending reign. Unfortunately, it also gave rise to instability and the “ningas kugon” politicking.
Now we have a new hero. To the yellow partisans, he represents the oppressor of freedom and human rights, instinctively like a fashion trend that’s starting to catch fire. To the common Filipino, he’s the cowboy whose ready the tame this bitch of a bull we call “the Republic”. A knight ready to ready to save this damsel in distress, while saying the kingdom should be broken down and turned over to each fiefdom for the taking. Remember that it will be the same oligarchs you hate that will probably run your state (province/region) as a member of the federal government.
Its August 2016 and we are still waiting for the “messiah” to come. I’ve grown tired of seeing them “heroes”. I am tired of listening about their mythical powers and strength. It’s time we look at them as we look at ourselves, flawed, human (limited) and Filipino. Nothing special that makes them better, nothing inborn that makes us lamer than them. As with Superman who’s weakened by Kryptonite we fail to see each hero’s weakness. We only realize them after they ride off to the sunset after their term ends.
If you are looking for an answer, I cannot give you one. All I can do is suggest that we need to look inside ourselves to make the republic rise up from the ashes.