Sunday, September 4, 2016
The Extraordinary Story of an Unlikely Hero in the Philippines
To quote Winston Churchill, “It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
In politics, perception matters. Voters elect the newbie when they are hopeful, but fall back on the familiar when they are afraid. Crafty political consultants employ tricks of the trade to convince voters to elect a candidate. They are creatures from the darkest recesses of the political system, not averse to doing terrible things for terrible reasons for even, potentially, terrible candidates. We're coaxed into applauding a candidate we're supposed to loathe. The mere agreement to work in politics is akin to selling one's soul.
Yet, President Rodrigo Duterte already had a lethal yet effective charm delivery system. He doesn’t need to do much to win the public over since an amusing persona is inherent in him. Duterte is one tough, cynical and angry politico. He is a highly disreputable character who does not care how he looks or comes off especially in his home turf, Davao. All those curses and slurs during his crass and grimy campaign made him stand-out among his opponents who all did the tried and tested formulas.
He may not be one who splurged on fat cigars and a gilded lifestyle, and was known more for an assortment of dead civilians cluttering his past. Thus, it’s hard to know whether to marvel or weep to his rise to Presidency. It boggles many on how an unlikely hero managed to win the highest form of leadership in the country.
However, spin-doctors are battling down in the Philippines to swing and sustain a tricky, off-putting Presidential ploy to a public who would probably want none of it if it hadn't for his traditionally packaged competitors who all failed to enchant the voting public with the usual appeal.
The process of “framing” Duterte to look like something he isn’t could be the stuff of a rambunctious comedy. Duterte;s communication team should be astute enough to deviously work around the people’s conscience. They should continue to do a menacing Nosferatu of a spin - give the sickening issues its moral center and let the people thrive on "esprit de corps."
His campaign was already a precursor to an impending tragedy. But they had the numbers to emerge as the winners of the election. The political strategists who did a bang-up job of getting the wrong man elected are like agents of catastrophe.
I have expressed my exasperation several times over how voters are so easily duped by manipulative candidates.
I gasps with disappointment at how ordinary civilians parrot the Duterte’s crisis-branded message—tickled that he has steered this desperate country away from the charismatic younger candidates with the message of change.
Only a nihilist would not be alarmed by the endless reverberations of extrajudicial killings masqueraded as a war on drugs — and by its suggestion of a systemic separation of modern politics and the national good.
Let me now be your shrewd guide to the chicanery of politics, at least until things get really serious, and the spectre of real-world fallout emerges from the woodwork. I'll be there for the love of the game. I could imagine now all that planning and scheming, the pulse-quickening, pawn-sacrificing brinkmanship as circumstances develops.
We'll soon spend reels or so languishing in helpless fits of nausea and vomiting into waste-paper baskets.
I can't help it if I feel the incidents are merely casting a skeptical eye at the gospel of lawless violence that’s preached by Duterte’s team. My outrage is more directed at my cynicism. This loathing is really foreplay. Politics is sex for those who want to keep their clothes on.
Crisis is an invaluable buzzword for geeing up all kind of dark-horse campaigns, but is the last thing any of us, and even the most slickest operators or "fixers," can deal with in full discreet.
How does one succeed to manipulate via crisis? Just make sure you have enough of an anchor of truth, then insert the hopefully believable fabricated tangents and detours designed to ultimately serve your purpose.
There’s nothing new about this political smoke-and-mirrors. This is a labored but unoriginal play on political black arts whose ending is blind panic pretending to be measured redemption – not a total nosedive on an otherwise worthwhile trip, but more of a bumpy landing that would ultimately shake us into submission.
What comes next is for them to scare us into believing that we are in a full-blown crisis to effect Martial Law, or anything remotely close to it but branded with a different name, and that only Duterte could manage to save us. Their ultimate piece of political wisdom: "Deaths are unavoidable if we want this country to finally be free from its shackles." In reality, we're being beheaded to follow blindly like fanatics all willing to sacrifice each other just to feel safe in the midst of a chaos.