“If you tolerate this, your children will be next.” — Manic Street Preachers
Perfected despotism, welcome to the new Philippines. No work of fiction or TV soap will ever compete with the ongoing freefall of our morals, of heroic courage, of justice, and of faith itself. They have all conceded defeat, sold out to vicious demigods whose only goal is to sell the nation blind.
Taxed of our labor to fatten a government that social media elected for us, the hapless Juan and Maria de la Cruzes in us either sweat it out at home or escape abroad. We don’t even demand to know anymore where the 32-percent cut from our income each month has gone, or if the 12 percent value-added tax from every breath we take has truly added value to our existence.
“No, just tighten your belts, you fools, while I pay off every politician and crony to secure my ass on this presidential throne,” so we are told by you-know-who.
In return, the ever-gullible “masa” [masses] that we are, convince ourselves of the illusory economic progress being painted before us — a masterpiece of deception more genuinely threatening than “The Da Vinci Code.”
Meanwhile, those of us who still have money to spend worry endlessly about how to make ends meet, resorting to all things “wa-is” [clever], cheap, and which may kill us. Or we have to be “wa-is,” to outsmart others in the end. It’s dog-eat-dog. Quality of life is forsaken for survival’s sake in a supposedly globalized, high-tech world.
Those in us who cannot find work anymore, live way below the poverty line, and are pressured to feed mouths…well, we eventually just end up dead. “Kapit sa patalim” [To grip the knife’s blade] — literally and figuratively. Because ours has become a nation of dead government, hijacked laws, and twisted faith. And the only thing that keeps it breathing are gossip, gimmicks, fake news, miseducation, rhetorical trash, billboards, sound bites, and every junk food for our New Age soul.
The lies being dished out are so patently thick they would have been more useful if they could butter our bread without killing us. But perhaps we indeed took a bite of the injustice, swallowed the lawlessness, fed our systems with the horror of kin, mothers and young people who simply did not partake of the deceit and called on us to watch what we’re eating as they perished. But we hated being cajoled to our seats even while the bowls we’re about to share are full of s—t.
It’s still food, after all, for a dying nation.
So, no more naming the crimes, the criminals, the perpetrators, and enough “bad” news! They all mean nothing to a nation too numb to look for a hero, an alternative. Pending that, we’d rather glue our minds elsewhere — our ears plugged to our burned audio files, our eyes wandering to the idiot box, our noses stuck to the next scandal.
Survival at all costs takes precedence these days, and we’re not just talking about the reason for existence of that rabid pretender to the throne.
We have become not just silent but numbed, powerless from our own freefall. Modern-day heroes we are, indeed, of a “future” our children will soon inherit from the mess we leave behind.