Carvajal: Boiling frog

Orlando P. Carvajal

WHAT frustrates me about criticisms against any government, not just Duterte’s now, is the underlying assumption that if the incumbent President is taken out of the picture, opposition critics from both left and right of the political spectrum, will do a better job of running the country.

It’s frustrating because critics assume the problem is they are not running the nation’s affairs. If they were, they say under their breaths, our problems of drug-related killings, corruption, and poverty would go down and China put in her proper place in the world map, and so forth and so on.

It is a wrong assumption and a frustrating promise because our society’s rich and powerful elite have always been at the helm of the ship of state; but look who we are under that undemocratic system of alternate rule by factions of the elite, poorest nation this part of the world. Alternating better and worse governance currents of the oligarchy have not reduced poverty by any significant degree.

When will we wake up to a fatally flawed system that reserves high office exclusively to the rich and powerful. Thus only vested interests have benefitted from self-serving governance. It is the system that needs changing not the jerks that take turns running it.

As a result our situation now might be compared to that of the proverbial boiling frog. According to this story, if you boil a live frog it will never think of jumping out of the pot if heat is applied very gradually. The structure of a frog’s skin enables it to adjust to slowly rising heat until before it even knows it, it has been boiled to death.

Like dumb frogs we do not get out of the boiling pot. Because heat is applied gradually we do not complain or fight against the system that is boiling us to death. We only complain against those who control the heat. When one group boils us too unbearably fast we elect another group that promises to boil us more slowly, more bearably.

Marcos’ Martial Law applied such unbearable heat as to force us to get off the pot. But when Cory’s group brought the heat down, we jumped right back into the pot and resumed electing officials who boil us in slow and bearable or tolerable heat. We never consider demanding for refreshing water. We are content and happy to ask that the water be boiled gradually so we can grin and bear it.

We continue to fail to realize that it does not matter which elite group is controlling the heat of the boiling pot. What matters is that it is boiling us. We must refuse to adjust to the heat no matter how bearable some rulers make it, get off the pot and put the fire out.

Otherwise, without realizing it, we die the slow death of the proverbial dumb and stupid boiling frog.