I really don’t get it when people ask me whether I support Marcos or Aquino. I think that question in itself is a sign of what’s wrong with this country: more concerned with personalities than with principles, and more fans hoping for a ride than participants.
We should support the Philippines NOT the legacies of dead and dying men. And we do that by honoring whoever the leader is, keeping him in check when he is abusive, obeying the law in our daily lives, serving our neighbor daily, living a productive life of good work, and becoming someone whose life offers a better alternative to the wrong values we hate.
If all we do is complain about things not being better but do not work hard at becoming someone who harnesses our time, money, and energy daily to offer a great life to the Philippines, we’re part of the problem and just make it worse. That’s not basic Christian belief that’s part of the basic social contract of democracy: which is, yes we can protest, but for this to succeed, we need to be offering something better. We need to be building not just breaking. When I say we I don’t mean a few government officials or a few NGOs. I mean everyone who belongs to that nation.
Now this is basic Christian belief: Love your neighbor as yourself, and love is laying your life down for your friend NOT right claiming.
If our actions show neither a deep understanding of democracy nor a practical application of Christianity when love is needed most, than what are we?
If we are what we repeatedly do, then we are neither a true democracy nor truly Christian despite our alliances, affiliations, and labels.
Thank God we’re not stuck with two options, in fact, we’re not stuck with any single set of options. We are actually given a powerful weapon of change: our lives. It is our lives, your life, my life, lived well that will ultimately dictate the good quality or bad quality of our existence. We do not have to be victims to the macro-political events nor the unjust actions of others. But while this sounds encouraging it’s not easy. In fact, it’s immensely difficult. Because we can’t fight a wave of injustice with a drop of good intentions neither can we undo centuries of mistakes with days of action. It will take an ocean of good to overwhelm seas of evil. It will take long with millions of good people willing to out-do and outlast evil people. Maybe this is why cultural change is so elusive.
Do we really think a few good intentions of people more concerned with personal comfort and well-being can beat the corruption of people who will do anything, including sell their soul?
No. And that’s why a political leader, a hero, or superhero, an icon, a celebrity, or whatever, is so important to our culture – because we want to believe that the hope of something greater exists – even if we don’t have the personal character to be that greater person achieving greater things – because we’re not willing to live for something greater than ourselves.
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather have these because we have acted rightly; these virtues are formed in man by doing his actions; we are we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
– Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy (1926)