My Chair Rocks

Election hangover

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Do you have election hangover? I do. Have the campaign posters, placards and other campaign eyesores been pulled down? The victors may be too busy celebrating, and perhaps the losers couldn’t care less. They all should lend MMDA a helping hand, don’t you think?

At least the propaganda jingles are over. I am happy about that. I think that as clever and well intended as these tried to be, many were silly and inane and actually turned off their target audience.

Someone asked me what it was like in the good old days. Names like Quirino, Rodriguez, Lacson, Quezon and Osmeña come to mind.

I remember in 1957 jumping on the bandwagon and urging everyone who cared to listen to rally behind the irresistible senator from Tayabas.

Impeccable oratory

Claro M. Recto was running for President, and I had a privileged seat (by virtue of being his daughter-in-law’s best friend) to witness his campaign up close and personal. His speeches were brilliant, his oratory impeccable. His smile was beguiling and could charm the birds off the trees. He was more than qualified.

But he lost, miserably. Many said it was because he spoke over people’s heads and belonged to the elite. Many who understood the times better saw the hand of foreign interests and blamed his Filipino First policy. In hindsight, it is obvious that no one could have survived against the popularity and mass appeal of Ramon Magsaysay.

Which brings to mind that in our recent polls, his son Jun Magsaysay didn’t make the cut. This is sad news. As a nation, we lost, big time.

We have never seen nor are likely to ever see again the likes of Don Claro. He was a statesman, orator, writer, a nationalist and an international personality. He walked the corridors of power with class. His brilliant career was cut short in Rome in 1960, when during a cultural mission to Europe and Latin America he suffered a fatal heart attack.

I was assigned to help edit a memorial supplement of his undelivered speeches for the Manila Chronicle, my first writing home base. I worked all night side by side with Recto’s bosom buddy, poet laureate Manuel Bernabe.

They had a mutual admiration society of sorts and a genuine affection and deep respect for one another. The sky was almost pink by the time we “put the pages to bed.” A Chronicle jeep took me home. He decided to walk. I guess his weeping was not over.

During the Recto experience I was a very young woman with stars in my eyes. I thought that being a man of integrity with a heart full of love of country were perfect qualities for a good leader. I knew I was right. But my man lost. It didn’t make sense. Not then. Those were my growing pains.

Great again

I have a clearer recollection of the rallies and campaign of 1965. I remember yelling at the top of my lungs about the virtues of the man who dreamed to make this nation great again. For a while there, it didn’t seem like an empty promise. I am sure it was more than that. And then life happened. Or worse, politics happened.

I have since reluctantly dabbled in things political, writing a speech here and a commentary there. But each time, there was a little less of the starry eyed idealist who, long ago, still believed.

I have friends who once upon a time marched the streets and braved water cannons in protest of people crazed by greed and the thirst for power. Today they are not moved.

I asked one of them why she is no longer involved. Back in the day, passion ran in her veins. She was fearless. Her reply was tentative, hesitant: “I am too old. I don’t have the energy. ” I prodded: “Old or disappointed?” There was sadness in her voice: “A little old, and a lot disillusioned. We have no more heroes.”

But that was before 2010.

The stunning results of this year’s exercise have revived my flagging spirits—yes, despite what doomsayers post on the social networks. I think bashers and complainers have nothing better to do than foment trouble and malign people.

Come on! Get over it. I say the die is cast. Let’s give them a chance. Get off that Facebook soapbox and stop spitting venom. And before you “like” or “share” the poison, remember: one click makes you just as vicious.

I am not exactly enamored with all the names and faces that have emerged in the winner circle. In the Magic 12, I have my “druthers.” But I believe each one has earned a chance to prove him/herself. For the good ones, three years will be too short. And one day may be too long for the “lemons.” But we picked them, didn’t we?

On the brighter side of things, I am totally delighted with the race run by Grace Poe Llamanzares. Great things are expected of her. I am confident she is more than capable. She will deliver and will not disappoint. Bravo, Grace!

It upsets me to hear TV and radio commentators speculate on how the new Senators will perform. They say that some will thwart whatever comes from the Palace, good, bad or indifferent, because they are committed to toe the party line.

We challenge them: “Stop being politicians and, party alliances be damned, start being Filipino!”

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