Saturday, November 08, 2008

A presiden't's honeymoon only lasts for a short time

This is a follow-up of my entry on Obama's win last Tuesday. It seems that up until now, based on the news I've been watching on the boob tube, not only is America happy about Obama's success. We see footages of people celebrating in his father's country, Kenya, the UK, China and even in Obama, Japan which obviously shares his name.

The question to ask now is for how long will the jubilation last? Just a few days after that triumphant speech Obama gave, we see Wall Street on the brink of disaster once again. What this tells me is that no matter how charismatic a leader is, this too, shall fade away and soon, if the changes people expect do not come in what they perceive as the proper time. Proper time being interpreted by many as "soon" if not "now". Even Mr. Obama knows that the change he promises to bring may not come immediately. "it may not even be for a term," he said. But constituents do not share this view. They believe that with charisma comes enigma - that although it may be a puzzle, a charismatic leader would bring change for the better on their doorsteps right away.

We, as a people, have seen this before. We were ecstatic when we deposed the dictator, strongman Marcos after living in limbo for decades. We believed that Cory could do some magic. She could have. She had the magic wand a leader should possess. She did not only have the Filipinos support but the world's respect that even Jane Fonda was seen flashing the L sign while being a presentor at the Oscar's, and witnessed the folk singing group Peter, Paul and Mary coming over on their own to celebrate with us. She had the right timing and had the capacity to rally us forward. But the expectations changed and got worse as the term was about to expire. People began referring to her as "Corazon" pointing to the heart and then saying "C or Si" (yes) "Aqui" (here pointing to the brain, "NO". No sooner than she was in office when she foiled Enrile's and/or Laurel's "Operation (or was it Oplan)God save the Queen." Thereafter, she survived several more coup attempts from people who thought she was a weakling and from whom they can wrest power. Her reforms were met with skepticism from forces coming from all directions. Her bid at a nobel prize stomped on the ground, etc. Now, we are back to square one. We have the same ills that Marcos has left us with and with a vengeance. More poverty, corruption has tripled, allegations of election cheating that caused us at least Php 728M...and we are only onlookers at the present stalemate.

I will not be surprised if Mr. Obama loses his popularity. People do have short memories in spite of whatever talents one has. Even Christ was faced with turncoats in the end. What is certain is that evil has no race, no religion, no true color. It just is and will continue to be. It used to lurk in the shadows. It is now in the open wantonly wreaking havoc at our expense.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

When America sneezes, the world catches a cold!

We are witnessing history as the US presidential elections unfold. Barack Obama is now the first African-American President. He will be facing a very rough road ahead as he leads a nation worried about economic crisis, two unfinished wars and global uncertainty. His election only signifies one thing - change! For instance, he won in areas never won by a Democrat for a very long time.

Obama scored an Electoral College landslide that redrew America's political map. He won states that reliably voted Republican in presidential elections, like Indiana and Virginia, which hadn't supported the Democratic candidate in 44 years. Ohio and Florida, key to Bush's twin victories, also went for Obama, as did Pennsylvania, which McCain had deemed crucial for his election hopes.

Furthermore, the majority seats in both houses which belonged to the Republicans will now be held by the Democrats. When Obama and running mate Joe Biden take their oath of office on Jan. 20, Democrats will control both the White House and Congress for the first time since 1994.

However, these details are no longer important to us, Filipinos. What we can look at his how the elections have been conducted, how the protagonists behaved during the campaign period till the end of the elections, how soon the winner is known.
The conduct of these presidentiables are admirable. They debated based on the issues, went to different forums where their opinions can be heard while our candidates try to outdo each other singing and dancing onstage.

We have learned to accept that when a candidate loses (even in the barangay elections) the losing candidate will automatically say he/she has been cheated. McCain, after several hours of counting, has already conceded defeat saying, The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly. Not only that, he also added:

This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and the special pride that must be theirs tonight," McCain said. "These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face."

We have always been said to follow America's lead. We have listened to its music, danced the way it did, watched its movies, and others. Why can't we follow the way they conduct their elections? I say, we copy the good things about them and trash those that are not good.

In the meantime, we hope that the changes the election of Mr. Obama will bring will be beneficial for us, too. For after all, when America sneezes, the world catches a cold.