smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Attrition

And so it is now: the street actions are no longer primarily attempts to pull down the President but individual battles in the greater war of attrition – meant to pull down the President.

It’s tough to pin down exactly when this shift in theories happened. One would suppose it took place once it became clear that the greater part of the military would not abandon the President and take to the streets; once it became clear, in other words, that the street actions would not replicate 1986 and 2001.

Of course this is not to say that the passionate have given up on street actions as a means of ouster.

To the critics who say that we have to go through legal means, I say this: The EDSA Rebellion is seeking her overthrow both legally and extra-legally. Legally through the Ombudsman, the Courts, and the impeachment complaints. Extra-legally through the streets, and maybe through the military revolts. Don’t those cretins dare say that this is political adventurism in disregard of law, for EDSA works in the streets and in the courts.

Unfortunately, that’s like saying that it’s ok to rob a bank – extra-legally – because you’re legally holding down a day job. Hmm. Sounds to me like an instance of the weird phenomenon that a noted blogger pointed out:

But I really have to wonder at some, not all, of those who criticize the critics of the President, while pretending not to be loyalists. But some undeniably are, but think that if they deny it, people will believe it. Why be ashamed of your convictions?

only in some kinda reverse. Someone advocating extra-legal means, while pretending to support legal channels as well, thinking that his support for legal means is believable.

Because really, once you say that you’re okay with extra-legal means, it really doesn’t make sense to say you also support legal channels. The two are polar opposites, and trying to reconcile them is futile.

To be fair, the recent street actions I think started out with better motives. I’ve said it several times, I believe that at the core of those actions are men and women who intend to pressure the government into owning up to its shenanigans. Totally constitutional, and totally indispensable in a democracy. The true test of a democracy, after all, is not the absence of dissent but in the way dissent is used as means of keeping government honest and improving it.

Unfortunately, the street actions as they are now have truly devolved into mere exercises of “political adventurism in disregard of law.” Seeing how the calls for good government and the totally valid calls for the resignation of the President have resonated with many of our countrymen, politicians have been quick to jump on the bandwagon in the process dropping everything else (the responsibility to legislate most noticeably) to consolidate their anti-Gloria credentials. EDSA has, for these politicians, ceased to be a movement. EDSA is now a slogan.

Even more unfortunately, the people who initially called out for change and the resignation of a President they believed to be unfit seem to have compromised in their stand by accepting in their ranks those that they must know have more in common with the hated President than with them.

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Things have gotten so mixed up that it is now practically impossible to tell the two groups apart: those who are genuine advocates for reform, and those who are simply aping the advocates for their own selfish motives.

A side effect of this unfortunate match is that it gives the President and her defenders a way out. The ambitious pols have pulled out all the stops in their demolition of the President; feeding the public with the spectacle while running roughshod over legal institutions. This plays well to the gallery but it allows the President to invoke due process; it allows her (through her various mouthpieces) to insist that the matter be taken to court where it can be tied up til kingdom come.

More tellingly – as far as the moderates are concerned – it allows the President to cast doubt on the motives of those who want to oust her. By allowing themselves to become indistinguishable from the pols-in-activist’s-clothing, the true advocates of change have allowed their message to be filed under ‘political noise’ – protest for the sake of politics, rather than under ‘call for reform.’

This, more than the supposed “delinquency, fear, and lethargy” of cretins, is the reason why rallies don’t attract more people.

The noted blogger says that JEE is a new man, having gone through the entirety of the legal process from indictment to trial to judgment to pardon. This being so, he implies, objections to JEE’s presence at the inter-faith rally are somehow unreasonable or merely instances of nitpicking. Maybe. But I am more inclined to believe that he – along with the others who genuinely want change – should read the writing on the wall: people who would otherwise be there in the streets with them are not because they could not hold the line against those politicians of doubtful sincerity who shout the same agit-prop as they do.

When the line between true heroes and hangers-on is indistinguishable, should people then simply pinch their noses and dive in? As I’ve already written, should the future of the country be gambled on so lightly?

Will Shakes opines that the EDSA movement must be sustained. Absolutely. But I think it must also be re-booted if it is to transition from the mere desire to unseat a hated President to true movement.

And by re-boot I mean for the proponents to return the movement to its roots: the desire for good government. Keep on calling for the President to resign, by all means, but do not let power-hungry politicians use the movement as their vehicle to the power they so palpably crave.

Keep up the street actions, but instead of just agitating for resignation, also call on the politicians who have co-opted the investigation to stop grandstanding and let legal processes run unimpeded by media whorage.  And for chrissakes, stop letting politicians take the stage.

A war of attrition sounds like a good idea. But those things lay the country to waste. Is that what everyone truly wants? Is it so urgent for Gloria to be hounded out of office now na, that it makes undermining democratic and legal institutions (that should outlive any one incumbent) justifiable. History has a word for that kind of victory: pyrrhic.

Ole’ will shakes makes a valuable point when he writes:

If we sustain our EDSA movement, we can kill the Arroyo government by electing new, idealistic blood to the Senate, and the House of Representatives (fingers crossed!) and other elements of government.

I mean, that’s exactly right. Vote the ilk and kin of  Gloria out of government and install an administration that won’t pack the executive department with men of elastic morals; and pick good Senators and Representatives. Election system doesn’t work? Bull. If it didn’t these jokers in Senate wouldn’t be in the Senate. Sure it’s flawed, but 2007 showed that it can be forced to work properly if enough people pay attention.

Sure, Zubiri made it in anyway, but one out of 12 ain’t bad for a start. And remember, for that one Zubiri who may have bought his way into Senate, there is one Trillanes who definitely won it on his own.

There is a solution short of revolution. We just have to have the patience to make it work.

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Filed under: 2010 watch, politics, , , , , ,

4 Responses

  1. UP n student says:

    I am being left with this feeling that a few of (or a lot of) the “Talsik Diyan” people just want to go only as far as “talsik diyan”. To them, after GMA departs, they can then go home with contentment in their souls that peace and harmony will automatically settle on the land.

    And then… there are the pros………

  2. rom says:

    UPn: that’s very likely.

  3. shiro says:

    i went! i went! dammit!

    i should’ve just stayed in the library or gone to the mall. 😦

  4. […] behind their misgivings concerning People Power. A Simple Life takes up the cudgels for loyalists. smoke has an interesting entry on what she perceives to be a war of political attrition. Peryodistang […]

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