WE ARE NEARING the end of our sojourn in the land of promises, and I am relieved. It has been a stressful visit.
I came here with friends who, like me, hoped we would find those promises fulfilled. Instead, as we tarried, many of them distanced themselves and transformed into people I barely knew. We agreed on our needs but differed on how to meet them. We diverged on the point of conviction; and though I expected this, I never foresaw the rancor, the rage, the animus and aggression with which these beliefs were expressed.
This saddens me tremendously.
I know us to be a people forged in crisis. Historically, we have united under pressure to resist threats too daunting for each of us alone to defy. Invariably, we have succeeded. It is tragic now to see us being threshed by our own hand, Filipino against Filipino, viciously bashing each other for the mere “sin” of dissent. “You do not like my candidate therefore you are ignorant and base; you are the scum of the earth.” How did we come to this place?
The larger question, though, is how do we get out of here?
On Monday, choices will be made that will set our path for the next six years. Not everyone will like it. It is this, above anything else, that makes me tense. To what extent are we prepared to pursue our differences? Are the threats we perceive strong enough to keep us unbalanced and at odds; is this what will finally rend us?
The possible outcome spawns valid fears and hopes. I am ready to oppose any real menace to democracy to defend my personal freedoms, but I am not about to feed on the panic that I feel is now being stoked. I will not fight a spectre; I will not cry wolf.
Instead, as a Christian and a Filipino, I will join my brethren who are praying for the elections. We ask for wisdom; we beg for mercy and peace; we entreat our God to make His will known. We trust that He will answer, and we will respect His sovereign decision. For the sake of the nation, I hope many others will do likewise.
The elections are on May 9. Afterwards, we will all have to live with each other again. The frenzy will have died down. Frenemies must face each other. Bashers must confront the effects of their rashness. We will have to sweep the litter off the streets, take down the posters, dismantle the hustings. We will do this, not the one in Malacañang. We will have to see if the promises ladled out will actually fill us, or if they are merely fancy fluff, as they have been so many times before. The trash won’t get thrown unless we clean up and the truth won’t be served until we seek it.
In the end, the change, if we want it, will have to begin with us. So, we have work to do. We’d best do it together.
Truly, I pray for healing after this savage campaign. I pray for unity. I hope we remember that we are one people, regardless of persuasion, and that we have our common weal to secure for our plenary benefit. Ultimately, we will do this, not the one in Malacañang.
It has been a wild trip, but it is nearly over and we should be moving on. We set out together and might have momentarily parted ways, but, come now, let us reconnect. There will be a new leader in Malacañang in a few days, and whoever it is will need us. That job, so fervently sought and fought for, cannot possibly be done without us.
So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs… Moses placed the staffs before the LORD in the Tent of the Testimony. The next day Moses entered the Tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron’s staff…had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.Numbers 17:6-8