Beating the bullet


    WHAT GROWS out of the barrel of a gun?

    Political power.

    Every communist knows this by heart, if not by rote. Even if his/her “little red book” has turned syphilitic yellow with age.

    Bullets birth tyrannies. Bullets too exterminate tyrannies. Live by the gun. Die by the gun. And the karmic cycle continues.

    Ballots birth democracies. Ballots nurture democracies. Ballots take democracies to full maturity.

    Win by the ballot. Rule through the ballot. Lose by the ballot. Fade away from the democratic stage. Or return, again through the ballot. 

    As tyrannies anathemize democracies, so bullets are a curse too to ballots.

    Bullets. Ballots. Contradictions – dialectical, diametrical, moral.

    Abraham Lincoln summed this thus: “To give victory to the right, not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots only, are necessary.”

    It brings to mind the campaign for the snap presidential elections of 1986. Of two streamers strung along a road in Zamboanga City – Cory, isang bala ka lang! said the first – obviously a take from a Fernando Poe Jr. movie.
    Marcos, isang balota ka lang! came the retort.

    Great reminders there in time with the EDSA anniversary. Anyways…

    Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales has long been toiling to impact his name in the people’s mind – via his accomplishments in the socio-economic sphere of his domain – for imprinting in their ballots come May 13.

    DONG – in big bold black letters – is printed on white bond paper folded in a brown envelope with five live M-16 bullets. Left at the gate of the congressman’s former close-in security aide.

    Threats. Harassment. Intimidation. Through bullets.

    Hindi ito ang pinasukan ko (This is not the world I entered). Cong Dong’s political engagement revolves around some “new picture of politics based on relevant issues that uplift the lives of my constituents.” So he says.

    “This is now my worry. That’s my fear.” He says of possible desperation – at this early in the game – that could drive someone go any which way to win. At whatever cost. Using here the analogy of the outpunched and outpointed Mike Tyson biting off the ear of clearly winning Evander Holyfield.

    Unfazed. Unintimidated. That is Cong Dong, managing to play the five live bullets like matchsticks in his hands.      

    Lalu kung pasiknan ing kampanya ku 500 percent (I will even increase my campaigning 500 percent).

    Cong Dong vowed to reach – and serve – as many of his constituents as humanly possible. The bullets be damned!

    He’s taking the threat seriously though. As indeed, he must.

    There’s no knowing when the threating ends and the doing begins.

    Yeah, live bullets are no more than threats.

    But spent shells are a totally different morbid matter. 

    A loud bang makes all the difference.


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