Our Tito-Vic-and-Joey Regard for “Politics”
In his latest brilliant article “The Elusive Mystery of Democracy“, Ben Kritz can’t make it any more simple:
Representative democracy cannot exist without strong and well-organized political parties that have clear ideologies and objectives.
The whole concept of our “right” to govern ourselves using a “democratic” form of government has been pitched to us in such romanticised gloss as to distract us from an obvious reality that Filipinos are still to earn the “freedom” that is a priviledge that comes with the toy for the big boys that is democracy. And, yes, we’ve been in the middle of a drawn-out reality check on this belief over the last decade or two — not that most Pinoys have noticed. Hello folks, it’s not about “freedom” (as our tubao-wearing makabayan bozos tell us with raised fists), it’s about responsibility! Quite simply, Pinoys are not cut-out to be a “democratic” people simply because we have time and again proven that we are utterly incapable of grasping the concepts personal responsibility and personal accountability much less applying these to our affairs and to the way we conduct ourselves.
Unfortunately for Pinoys, as Kritz further points out…
[…] One aspect of the present-day political culture of the Philippines that does not bode well for a successful democratic system is the glaring lack of relevant and effective political parties.
Representative democracy cannot exist without strong and well-organized political parties that have clear ideologies and objectives. Political parties not only draw together people who have similar political philosophies and ideas, they are the means by which political power is exercised in a representative democracy, whether it is in the Federal form of the U.S., or the Parliamentary form of Canada, Australia, the U.K., or any number of other countries. Representative democracy works because the political structure takes precedence over personalities, and the only reason that is possible is because of the existence of political parties.
So, not surprisingly, one of these responsibilities is to ensure that ideas (platforms, philosophies, and at the very least ideologies) soundly underpin our political parties (yes, that’s what we call them). But look up Philippine Political Parties, say on Wikipedia, and you’ll find the articles peppered with lots of names and events but hardly any information on the ideas, philosophies, or ideologies that they stand for that are of useful substance.
Kritz makes a relatively more thorough accounting than I do:
A casual Internet search for the party platforms of well-known political parties both here in the Philippines and abroad highlights the problem. The platform of the Democratic Party in the U.S. is available as a 59-page PDF download, along with several appendices. The Republicans’ platform is 67 pages. Similarly, the Canadian Conservatives have a 44-page policy document, and the Australian Labor Party outdoes them all with an incredibly-detailed, 319-page epic. Here in the Philippines, the Lakas-CMD coalition offers nothing at all (not even a website, actually), and the Nacionalistas offer a vapid reference to “achieving economic independence” on their FAQ’s page. The Liberal Party does little better, providing a policy statement as “an alternative to traditional politics and to misguided populism” that is long on sentiment but short on details.
I highlight in bold the last phrase because in seven words, it summarises in all — elegant simpicity — the national political “debate” of Pinoys over the last two decades. What indeed has changed? And what indeed do we aspire to if we lack the insight to even consider different approaches — like maybe grow a bit of collective substance for a change instead of continue with our Tito-Vic-and-Joey regard for politics?
Check out Ben Kritz’s full article here.Click here to read readers' reactions.