Monday, January 02, 2006

Hope and hopelessness

Reading Oli Mercado's requiem for the slain Judge Gingoyon brought back yesterday's conversation with friends at a coffee shop.

For some reason, the topic switched briefly to politics. I swear, my Davao friends are the worst people to speak with on the matter, especially for one with views as my own. Their views are cynicism mixed with expedient accommodation.

I say: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should go.

They say: who are you going to replace her with? Noli?

Further, they add: better keep a thief who has had his fill, than to replace him with a thief who is hungry.

The latter argument only works if you believe there is a limit to greed. I don't think there is. My friends say that Mike Arroyo earns as much as P30-M per day just from cargo fees on the docks alone. True? False? I don't know. My friend thinks that this would be enough. If it were so, wouldn't Mr. Arroyo have retired by now? As I said, greed knows no bounds.

The no-better-alternative option has been tried and found wanting. Fidel Ramos found as much to his regret. He supported Mrs. Arroyo during her darkest hours, hoping for accommodation for his vision of charter change. And what did he get?

Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo and her minions have a long track record of cutting down anyone who shows any promise of leading the country. Remember Roco? Well, that's politics, they say. Why, I ask, shouldn't it change? Why can't we make it change?

If we follow this argument, that there is no better alternative than Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo, then we will forever be spinning our wheels in this mud. If she stays, there will never be any better alternative.

Not that it matters, they say. Her stint as prime minister is fait accompli. Once congress railroads the charter change, it won't matter anymore. Even if they bring charter change to a plebiscite, would we really have an honest outcome? Why does Mr. Abalos cling on resolutely to his post in the Commission on Elections?

It's only hopeless if we say it is. It's hopeless if we sneer and say, let things be. As for me, I'd rather be tilting at the windmills. There's more to this life than...this life.