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New Patriotism


“Hope,” the English poet Alfred Tennyson  wrote,“smiles at the threshhold of a new year to come, whispering it will be  happier.” 

        In a word,hope can usher in a new patriotism.  The two highest officials of the country abundantly expressed so in their new messages, calling like larks on the people to marshal their optimism in meeting the challenges the new year may bring about.

        Or the old ones that still need resolution. The leaders, after all, are there to bring new ideas to bear upon  intractable, pestering problems. One such idea is the need to think up new paradigms in dealing with nuances. The new year may promise such a happier vision.

        To do that, we need patriots. There are, at least, two patriots. Both are necessary and both  believe that hope works.  There is the politician and there is the hero. One steps up to the plate, the other goes around it.  It is clear why it’s oftentimes said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. It is a litmus test. Who knows the politician can be the unlikely hero?

         ‘ Hope always triumphs over experience,’ the author Robert Fulghum said. The Filipino experiende can be summed up this way. Politelly, it means that we never learn our lessons well. In one sense, we need to accept the fact that the reality of a cheaper staple, as in P20 per kilo, will not happen but people will have a better option at a better life.

          Life goes on.

         At sometime in the future, 2027 as predicted, the Philippines will have a more robust economy  it will depend less on borrowings to sustain its budgetary requirement and dream of becoming, again, a tiger economy, not just a purring cat.  There is hope in that direction,given  the President’s report of earning more investment pledges from its trips abroad.

          Pledges are as hopeful as a politician’s promise. And there is also the promise that the  much-ballyhoed Maharlika Investment Fund will reap good harvest, whether they are low-hanging fruits or not. We need every positive sign that we are on the right track. We need to be happier, as Tennyson implied. We need not fake them.

          Optimism cannot exist in a vacuum, not when there a sense of disunity among the country’s leaders.    Denial and more of it will only exacerbate the country’s ailments from within and from without. It’s too early politics, and the nation’s priorities must take first place  in the leaders’ agenda.

           In the South China Sea, various concerns are not getting less worrisome by the day. It’s like there’s an eyeball -to -eyeball situation and no one , it seems ,is ready to blink. President Marcos has pledged he will not allow an inch of the country’s territory to be taken away.  More than most people know, foreign troops are moving around the country and that makes China more insecure. So is the SCS, and farther beyond-

           Hopefully, the new paradigm will come soon, not later, to open a window of opportunity.         

           Rocking the boat ,as it were,   to warn the present leadership, however well-meaning is both short-sighted and visceral. It does not address the real issues nor present the right solutions in the interest of the nation.   It only promotes selfish agenda and personal goals, alienating the public and further aggravating the perception that disunity at the top is real and maybe for good.

            The enemy is watching and is always ready to take advantage anytime. Unfortunately, there are some who are willing to listen, let alone join, the enemy in weakening the nation and its sense of nationhood.  Truth to tell, that sense has never been more fragile.

            The idea of changing the Constitution is being peddled by those who want to change the subject of bolstering people’s hope with the coming of  a new year that can whisper better tidings. There are more important things to talk about. There are thousands of the lowly drivers at great risk of being taken out of their livelihood. There is a nearly moribund agriculture that needs to be recuscitated. There is a likely change  in the weather as a worse  El Nino may better batter farmlands. 

               In the meantime, there is justice that needs to be served. A former senator is now free to pursue what is due her and thousands of others who became collaterals in the war against drugs.  The pending probe by an international court cannot be kept pending while those who are accountable remain scot-free and out of reach.

              The senator will test the commitment and seriousness of the present administration in promoting democratic ideas that have been taken for granted.   How justice is applied will be the   measure to its intentions.   It should favor no one, even the new kid in Malacanang that unfortunate indicates some motivation not entirely consistent with the greater expectation by many.

               There is a certain vagueness in leadership that needs to be corrected. At one time, a woman picked for an important job had expressed hope that the new leader will his pay  dues  to the government like everybody else.  The hope remains unanswered. “Followers who tell the truth and leaders who listen to it are an unbeatable combination”, Warren  Bennis, leadership expert,  said.

               It seems that for the year 2024 to bring about the hope and optimism that the country’s top leaders expect from their followers , they must consider that loyalty to each other is a two-traffic.   The followers are the source of energy, the leaders the source of inspiration. Hope works better that way.  A leader, Bonaparte  said, is a dealer in hope.     



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