Thursday, July 31, 2014

The tripping point

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Salivating with delight, their eyes moistening and pupils constricting/dilating, detractors of President Aquino and his administration who have been wishing to see him fail since Day One are now seizing the moment to make good their ultimate yearning. They are calling for his ouster, impeachment, resignation—whatever form it will take—so that they can put in place their own agenda and have the last laugh.

I am not talking here of those who air constructive criticism and even utter dismay over commissions and omissions that have delayed or derailed expected services from the government. There will always be hits and misses and the government needs to be criticized for its misses especially when it concerns the teeming poor, they who are being constantly used and abused and have rightfully become a demanding lot. But the former kind—the salivating, heckling kind—simply want to see the President fall flat on his face.

The motivations are varied: They want to promote their own agenda or ideology, get even (for having been exposed, deposed or left behind), or just sow chaos so that this country would be back in square one. Nothing, but nothing, is good enough for them, and the sooner this country is thrown into disarray the better.  
The President’s State of the Nation Address last July 28 became a “point in time” (pardon the cliché so often used by politicians) for his ill-wishers to rally their forces and create a tipping point, if not a “tripping” point. Now is the witching hour, that moment between day and night when rapacious creatures roam the land and their powers are said to be at the most destructive.
If they cannot create that so-called tipping point now, then trip the guy as he negotiates the last stretch of his “matuwid na daan” (the straight and narrow path) and have the last laugh. Seize the precarious moment and rally the malcontents and the miscreants so that there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth across the land. I feel this in the roaring of the ground.

I did not vote for P-Noy (at first a reluctant candidate) in 2010 because there was someone else who I thought was better prepared to be president. While I grudgingly gave in to the dictates of my conscience, I also left it to the power of the electorate and to the higher powers that govern our destinies to make the final verdict and crown the best one, the one we deserved. Noynoy Aquino’s victory was good enough for me. I decided early on that he deserved our support—for our own sake. I thought, why wait for the next one?

Who knew then what was down the road? During these last four years we experienced events of the cataclysmic kind and learned about massive plunder of the unprecedented kind that dates back to the past administration. Armed conflicts and Mother Nature’s howling rage left in their wake communities turned to embers and wrecked landscapes littered with dead bodies. To borrow a movie title, a “series of unfortunate events” brought us to our knees. As always, we would stand up, pick up the dead and the debris, and show the world what we are made of. (“Like the molave,” as the poet would say.)

And just as heartbreaking was the discovery of massive looting of people’s money by greedy individuals in connivance with persons who had sworn to serve us. Betrayal most painful. (I say, no mercy.) Uncovered and exposed at last, the agents of the evil one do not sleep in order to get us waylaid in our search for the truth and our quest for justice. Calls for impeachment, ouster and resignation have become so common and repetitive that one is likely to dismiss them as knee-jerks. Even the faces (human and papier mache), voices and streamers from noisy sectors have become so familiar and their slogans so old and unchanging that you want to fill in some blanks for them.

The tempest over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that saw the Aquino administration snarled in a thorny thicket gave hecklers renewed vigor and hope that the administration would end in ignominy. Sure, we need to understand issues, criticize when necessary. But destroy the good that has been begun?

When Filipinos discovered their great talent to topple a dictatorship through people power, they began to think that that was the only way to solve national problems. We think we’re the best in the world when it comes to music and entertainment—and we sure are—but we have not explored other fields like, say, molecular biology, because there is no money in it. But that is another story.

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell defines tipping point as “that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire… The tipping point is the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point… It is the name given to that one dramatic moment in an epidemic when everything can change all that once.”

There will be no tipping point in this last stretch of the Aquino presidency, self-styled political analysts—relieved or grudging—will tell you. But detractors will just keep on tripping—destructively. We see that happening now.

There will be more tempests to come in P-Noy’s “Philippine area of responsibility,” to borrow meteorological jargon, but if he steers the ship well, even if there are rockers aboard, the ship will reach shore. Someone will then take over and, again, we will all be together for another voyage. #