When Angela Merkel became its Chancellor in 2005, Germany was the “sick man of Europe.” Now she leaves office with Germany acknowledged as Europe’s largest economy.
Germans do not vote for individuals but for parties, their social philosophies and programs. Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Party won on respect for individual rights to economic stability and progress. She delivered on this program but Germany paid the steep price of environmental degradation.
Thus, Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democratic Party won on the call for respect of the environment. Politically mature Germans saw the need to continue pounding the economic hammer but without destroying the environment.
This state of affairs is for Filipinos to dream of. Sadly, we are either not dreaming of it or not doing anything to fulfill it.
Politically, not all sectors are represented in government. We also do not have political parties with ideologies and programs that respond to the country’s changing social reality. Hence, oligarchs continue taking turns at running the government and maintaining the economy’s neo-liberal thrust that has little respect for the equal dignity and rights of all members of society.
Culturally and in spite of Christianity, our rulers do not respect small people as equals. Small people, on the other hand, do not respect themselves enough to demand that leaders respect their equal rights to prosperous living. Instead they meekly submit to the self-serving dictates of sweet-talking leaders.
Now nominees of factions of the oligarchy are running for the presidency and looking like they are running merely out of contempt for Duterte’s governance style. Like nobody is running on a program to get us from “sick man of Asia” to “Asian economic tiger.”
They are all running on claims of superior personal qualities. Lacking any social philosophy and program, it can arguably be concluded they are running just to get to the position where they can hug for their families and financiers/supporters the spoils of the country’s lop-sided system of economic production and distribution.
And yet that is really not the problem. The problem is we do not treasure our dignity enough to stand up to our leaders and demand that they respect our right to a quality of life worthy of the dignity of a human being. The problem is the labor-farmer sector is broken up into weak non-aligned groups while the rest of us are content to take shelter under the tents of traditional political leaders.
If we are the problem we have to be the solution. We have to demand that our leaders respect our right to prosperous living. We have to stop allowing them to disrespect our dignity as members of the Filipino nation.