Sunday, August 16, 2015

make your vote count

Election year is coming up in both the US [my current home] and the Philippines [my homeland]. It is striking how Donald Trump reminds me of the Marcoses.

Big egos. Bad hair. Expensive lifestyles. Dying to be young and beautiful. Lots of blowhard pontificating.

It horrifies me that they can attempt to run for the highest elected office in the country. It scares me that they are being considered by the electorate.

The vile legacy of Ferdinand Marcos’ perfumed nightmare has passed on to Senator Bongbong Marcos, Governor Imee Marcos and Congresswoman Imelda Marcos who vainly try to sanitize their histories with smoke and mirrors, denial and deflection, polish and pride - all paid for with the Filipinos blood, sweat and tears. 

Imee Marcos-Monotoc, Bongbong Marcos, 
Imelda Marcos, Irene Marcos-Araneta

As father Marcos bought and forced his acceptance into the elite ranks of society, so too do his spawn and spouse hope to erase past horrors and rewrite facts.

On September 21, 1978 - six years after Ferdinand Marcos imposed Martial Law for his self proclaimed New Society - Senator Jose Diokno spoke before Amnesty International in Cambridge, England. Here is how he ended his speech:

I should close, but there is a memory locked in my heart that begs to be shared. It is the memory of a young couple, not yet in their thirties, whom I saw some months ago in a large hall that had been converted into a military courtroom, waiting for the case to be called, in which they stood accused with some 90 other young people.

I had met the young man before martial law. He was a university student – brilliant, articulate, involved. That day in the courtroom he sat in a rattan chair, almost motionless, staring blankly ahead, his mouth half open, totally oblivious to the people and the chatter around him. He had been detained under martial law, punished so repeatedly and so brutally and subjected to such a large dose of what the military call the truth serum that his mind had cracked. He is confined, to this day, in the mental ward of a military hospital.

Behind him stood his wife, straight and proud, one hand lightly resting on the crown of his head, the other touching his shoulder, tenderly yet defiantly, ready to spring on anyone who might still wish to hurt her husband.

As I looked at the couple, I saw in them the face of every Filipino and I knew then that martial law could crush our bodies, it could break our minds but it could not conquer our spirit. It may silence our voice and seal our eyes but it cannot kill our hope nor obliterate our vision. We will struggle on, no matter how long it takes or what it costs, until we establish a just community of free men and women in our land, deciding together, working and striving together, singing and dancing together, laughing and loving together.

That is the ultimate lesson.

Donald Trump is a harmless clown by comparison. Yet like the Marcoses he does not play by the rules and exempts himself of accountability. They are all about I, me and myself and proclaim it with grand pride and gusto. 

The worst part is that these colorful charlatans may succeed at eclipsing any voice of reason.

Therein lies the thorn that may poison us yet. 

Links to articles on the Marcoses:

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