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Philippine Second-handers: The Beginning

September 16, 2007

In her popular book Fountainhead, Ayn Rand, the proponent of Objectivisgloriam, mentioned the word “second-hander”. Obviously, it originates from the word second-hand, as in second-hand television or other used yet still-in-good-condition movables.

One buys a second-hand item to save money. But in Ayn Rand’s point of view, the term second-hander does not refer to people who buy second-hand objects, but to those who surrender their capacity for judgment to other people, those who focus not on what they think, but on what others think.

A second-hander is one who is dependent, as a parasite is, on the service of people, on the dictates of others, on the gullibility of the public, on the propaganda and opinions of the media. He is without ego, without a concept of self, although he may appear to have an overwhelming ego, but in truth he has none. He may get rich and powerful, but in reality, he has nothing, he is nothing.

garciApplying this concept to the Philippine political scene, I can say that there are a great deal of both political and corporate personalities who deserve to be called second-hander.

They usually come in droves during elections. They cross party lines for political survival, they beg, pay, coerce, and threaten the people to vote for them. They use all kinds of barbaric, violent methods and tactics only to be voted to or gain power.

Turncoats or the so-called balimbing surface during this period. Sometimes, because I have no one to blame (since I hate to consider this so pathetic situation as part of the Filipino culture), I look at the Constitution as the innocent architect of this political mess. Innocent, I say, because the framers of the charter did not intend or envision the country to fall into garcillanic tribulation.

The multi-party system, the opposite of the two-party system applied about four decades ago, is the root of all electoral evils, apart from the inherent wickedness and devilishness of most politicians.

This system allows the politicians to cross party lines, to transfer from one party to another like political butterflies (my apologies to butterflies). Because of the multi-party system which was prostituted and cheapened by some shameless political maniacs, almost all political parties in the country have lost their identities, or to be more precise, they have no identity at all. This noble provision of the law was seen by dirty-old politicians who are expert in circumventing and distorting the law as venue for their political whims and caprices.

Political parties in the country are not unlike a vagabond who has no identity or personality.

The 2007 election shows us the very danger of the existing multi-party system.

Before the polls, we heard comments and even suggestions that the very best way to get rid of Gloria Arroyo is through election, in that we don’t have to wait for 2010 presidential balloting to unseat her. That was the funniest statement I’ve ever heard, although I did not get the punchline.

To me, the last election was like a frustrated ejaculation. It was without any promise and hope, without any climax. This is the reason why I did not cast my vote.

Why would I vote if I didn’t even know who would I vote for? Why would I vote if the man who should not be doing business at the Comelec, because he doesn’t even know how to count, remained unpunished? And he remains unscathed up to these days. And why would I waste my single vote if the woman who corrupted this country was still giving orders at the Malacanang Palace?

I forfeited my right of suffrage to express (at least to myself) my own indignation. It was a vicarious achievement on my part which should be emulated by some people who wield tremendous power (I use the word power since they see public service as such, instead of responsibility.) That Mrs. Arroyo and his men should also make a sacrifice by forfeiting their rights of office (since in the first place they have no right at all.) The Filipino People should have boycotted the polls as their way of telling Gloria and the world that the Filipinos will not get fooled again.

I mentioned above that I wasn’t sure who the electorate voted for on May 10. This is true in the case of our representatives and senators who are supposed to represent us in Congress.

They said that May 10 served as a referendum on the accountability and legitimacy of Mrs. Arroyo. I beg to disagree. It was rather a referendum on nothing, a referendum on the idiocy and naivety of the Filipino people.

Now it turns out who and what these representatives and senators truly represent. They do not represent the people, they only represent themselves, their clan and their kind.

This reminds me of Roman dictator Sulla who scornfully asked a senator: “Since when did you ever represent the Roman people?” This truly applies to our congressmen.

Since when did our congressmen represent us? How can they represent us if they belong to a party without any identity or principles. How can they fulfill their duty if they have no concept of “service to the people”? Service is something most of our politicians niggardly render. And this observation is true – he who speaks of service aspires to be the master- the one to be served.

The concept of service is usually imbedded in the speeches of the President. When she said the country has to move on, she meant service. Service and patriotism – these are the favorite combination of a tyrant. A shameless tyrant exploits these words to deceive the people and to craftily serve his purpose.

But these concepts of service and patriotism must be deconstructed. In a country where the rule of law is being circumvented and the whims and caprices of men reign, service only benefits its speaker, while patriotism protects not the majority but the few. Because he who speaks of service aspires to be the master. He who preaches service promotes slavery.

Liberal party, Kampi, Lamp, Genuine Opposition, Lakas, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Philippine Democratic Socialist Party, Kilusan ng Bagong Lipunan, etc: what do these parties really represent? What are their identities?

It’s hard to classify which party is opposition and which is pro-administration. After the balloting, it turns out that the people were conned by these unabashed bunch politicians. It appears that we are over 80 million idiots!

Indeed, political parties are like transitory trappings which they can don momentarily to deceive the public eye.

That’s why impeachment has become a pipe dream because of the brazenness and greediness of the people we voted to the House of Representatives. Because most representatives belong to parties devoid of principles and ideology, they represent nothing, and they are also prone to bribe offers.

Reports sprouted last year that the Malacanang Palace offered bribes amounting to P15 million to congressmen to kill the impeachment charge.

Now, what? Are we going to wait for another election in 2010 to bring back hope to our nation? But what if we’re just waiting for Godot, because parhaps this government is not yet ready to give up power? Well, that’s the scariest part of it.

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