Wenceslao: Sad times

Bong O. Wenceslao
·3 min read

Another anniversary of the 1986 Edsa People Power uprising has gone by without much fanfare. Two things: one, there obviously is an effort by the government to downplay the historic event and two, a new generation too young to have a memory of the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and the uprising that toppled it have effectively taken over. The Edsa uprising has become this generation’s World War II when memories of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines and the heroism of Filipino guerillas became just a blur to the generation that followed the one that endured the Japanese atrocities.

I find this a bit laughable because in the effort to downplay the Edsa uprising, it looks like a person with a puckered lip who does not realize how contorted his or her face has become. To the world, the Edsa uprising remains to be the Filipino people’s finest moment. The Edsa uprising became the template that oppressed peoples of nations around the world used to end tyrannical rules.

It’s just sad that the son of the late Cory Aquino, the symbol of that uprising, became President and subsequently became a target of those who wanted to seize control of Malacañang. Noynoy and the color associated with the uprising--yellow--were demonized using a technology that democratized the distribution of information but whose use was subsequently abused by its users.

But I have a feeling that things are bound to change. President Duterte is part of that period in world history when the pendulum of public opinion has swung far to the right. That period has produced Vladimir Putin, those Latin American populist leaders and even US President Donald Trump. I would even mention to a certain extent Chinese leader Xi Jinping and, yes, President Duterte.

But that period seems to be waning with the defeat of Trump by the Democrat Joe Biden in the recent US presidential elections. Next in line would be our presidential elections. With popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter learning their lessons from the past, previous attempts by sinister forces to influence our polls will certainly be stymied. That should help usher in a new period of decency everywhere, allowing the pendulum of public opinion to swing back to the center, or should I say, left of center.

We may just be fortunate that Duterte took the presidency in his waning years. Had he been younger at that time, who knows what he would have done to hold on to power? But there are personalities we should be wary of, like Ferdinand Marcos Jr. or Bongbong. The period I am referring to earlier could be extended in this country if we once again fail to choose the correct leader.

I am sure the time will come when the Edsa uprising will once again be given the respect it rightly deserves. That will happen if we are willing to restore decency in Malacañang. We have seen how the US people finally saw the light. I just hope that next year’s elections will see the resurgence of the Edsa spirit that oppressed peoples worlwide sought to imitate.