“A good leader can inspire us…”

This is an article of my idol, Conrado de Quiros.
“A good leader can inspire us…”
By Conrado de Quiros, There’s the Rub, Philippine Daily Inquirer

I’ve gotten some very interesting and thoughtful feedback from readers. A particularly noteworthy one is from a reader who wonders how I have become the No. 1 propagandist for Noynoy Aquino, investing him with the properties of a messiah, when in fact, as Cory’s rule showed, his feet are probably made of clay.

I have absolutely no problem being the “No. 1 propagandist” for Noynoy for one simple reason: I egged him to run. I egged him to run for many reasons, not the least of them being that he is a decent person. He is by no means perfect, but it’s like what Winston Churchill said about democracy: It’s a horrible system, except that the rest are worse.

The “rest” in this case meaning the “mainstream” candidates. Arguably some others have more reformist agendas, or have a reasonable claim to them. Nicky Perlas, a good friend, is one of them. JC de los Reyes, the presidential bet of the Kapatiran party of another good friend, Nandy Pacheco, is probably another.

The reason I am supporting Noynoy rather than any one of them, or others like them, has little to do with Noynoy being more likely to win than them. Or conversely, and more directly, it has little to do with them having as much chance to win as hell freezing over, or as the crow turning white, to use a more local saying. I’ve never had problems plugging for the “unwinnable” but deserving candidate in the past, I won’t have problems plugging for the “unwinnable” but deserving candidate in the future.

I haven’t wavered there. I’ve always plugged for the candidate I thought was most deserving. It just so happens that that candidate is also the most “winnable” today. Which wasn’t so only yesterday: I did propose that Noynoy run when most everybody was still scoffing at the idea, thinking it to border on lunacy.

While at this, curiously no one accused me in the past of being the chief propagandist of Jovito Salonga and Raul Roco though I rooted for them with as much passion as, if not more so than, Noynoy. No one said I made Roco in particular out to be The Messiah. I guess the principle applies only when your bet is doing well.

What makes Noynoy most deserving today is this: He carries the mantle of People Power. I do not mean that in any fuzzy religious or mystical sense—though as I’ve kept saying too, I’m not knocking it; providential things have been happening of late. I mean that in the most practical sense. Not least, the threat of People Power makes Noynoy the one deterrent to cheating. How huge a deterrent depends on how huge Arroyo’s resolve is—and as we’ve seen in the past, it’s epic. No one could have lasted nine unelected years in power without exercising epic resolve. And chicanery.

Noynoy is the one and only candidate the public will mind being cheated. None of the other candidates may claim that. In the other cases, the cheating will probably be protested as just another show of official vileness, but that is all. Noynoy gets cheated and the public will take to the streets.

Far more importantly, look at what’s happened after Aug. 5. You’ve got to be dead not to feel the sea change that’s swept over the landscape. If Le Cirque had been exposed before Aug. 5, we might have vituperated against it but ended up just making text jokes. But it happened after August 5, and the result was an explosion heard from here to New York. Since then no new government perfidy has passed without violent public reaction, from the revelation of the houses of the Arroyo kids in San Francisco to the unraveling of the Arroyo government at the height of the “Ondoy” floods.

It’s the spirit of Edsa that has made that outrage possible, it is the spirit of Edsa that has made that defiance possible. It’s the spirit Cory resurrected by her death, it’s the spirit Noynoy keeps alive by running. What makes Noynoy the most deserving “candidate” today is that he is more than a candidate and the exercise is more than elections. The fact that he is busting the charts all over the place—not even Erap made that spectacular showing in 1998—must suggest that we must look at today’s election beyond the framework of elections. As I suggested at FMAP last week, the only way to see it is this:

It is an Edsa masquerading as an election.

None of it is to suggest that we may look at Noynoy as some kind of savior. I did say last August that we may regard Cory herself only as a source of inspiration, not as a source of salvation. Only we can save ourselves. But a good leader can inspire us to do that. A good leader can dare us to do that.

True enough, the Cory presidency had its share of problems, and the Noynoy presidency will have its share of problems. I myself have not forgotten the things I brought up during the Cory presidency, which was not just Hacienda Luisita but the human rights abuses during the anti-insurgency campaign (notably by the paramilitary groups), government’s dependence on the US (which led to its defense of the Clark and Subic bases), government’s refusal to negotiate, if not scrap, the fraudulent loans (indeed making debt payments, not education, the number one priority of the budget), and so on. I’ll leave for another column why I think the Noynoy presidency can surpass the Cory one. Suffice it to say here that by all means give criticism where criticism is due. It should help make that presidency better.

It’s not perfect. Nothing in life is. One thing I can say is that Cory did not find my stance a reason to regard me as an enemy. If there was one thing she hated in life, it was hypocrites. If there was one thing she believed till death, it was better honorable foes than dishonorable friends.

The mother knew how to listen. Maybe the son does too.
Simply the best!!!


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