Wenceslao: Escapism

·3 min read

When I was younger, I used to spend sleepless nights thinking about when and how the Marcos dictatorship would end. Who would have thought that it would come in the form of an insurrection sparked by military dissension. It was a sign that the split within the ruling elite had so widened that the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. could no longer rule the old way. People Power finally toppled the dictatorship with the Marcoses saved from the people’s wrath by the United States. Who knows what would have happened had the mob that went to Malacañang caught Ferdinand Sr., his wife Imelda and his children Imee, Irene and Ferdinand Jr. or Bongbong? Other nations’ dictators and their families suffered a sadder fate than what befell the Marcoses.

So what if the US didn’t interfere then? Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi suffered ignominious ends, which is something that the Marcoses should be thankful to the US for. When the mob raided Malacañang on that day in February 1986, they could only lay their hands on Imelda’s 3,000 pairs of shoes.

The Marcoses will soon be back in Malacañang, a place that TV host Toni Gonzaga described as their “tahanan” (home). After years of disinformation and historical revisionism, Philippine politics have finally come full circle. The battle cry “Never Again” has been stomped on and spit upon by the very same people who drove the Marcoses away.

When it became clear that Ferdinand Jr. would win the elections, I felt nothing but shame. I thought that the world that praised us for the peaceful manner we toppled the Marcos dictatorship would be laughing at us for electing the dictator’s namesake as president this time around.

When Marcos Sr. came to power, I was but a child and when he declared military rule in 1972 I was fresh out of elementary school. Marcos tried to shape my young mind into a submissive human being, but I ended up rebelling against the dictatorship nevertheless. I am confident that Marcos Jr. could not follow in the footsteps of his father. He does not have the intellect nor the daring to be a dictator. I can endure six years of shame because I know that people, or at least those who have learned their lessons well, have not forgotten how to assert their rights when they are trampled upon.

My only advice, if we want to survive the next six years, is for the principled to band together so their values will remain intact. Let those who voted Marcos into office enjoy life under the new dispensation. I would rather focus on my family rather than being bothered by how this country is being run.

Indifference has its own value. It calms the mind in a highly polarized setup. I now steer clear of reports about governance, meaning that I have become selective on the kind of information I would imbibe. I now would rather listen to music than to commentaries. Music soothes the mind. In the old days, I would bring a cassette up the mountain top during moonlit nights and view the barren mountains while listening to music. Its calming effect is invigorating.

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