ONCE UPON a time, a solon, an honorable title by and in itself, had a compelling vision to rise to a higher perch in the political kingdom. So, he ran for the second highest office in the kingdom, but lost decidedly.
Later, he rose to be the speaker of the House of lawmakers — solons, they are called for some reason. Of course, he earned that, partly by being a benefactor to his latter day benefactor. Like, paying forward. They call it foresight. Pragmatism is how politicians term it. More like quid pro quo, which oftentimes is essentially standing the golden rule on its head to power seekers and power brokers.
As speaker, it probably dawned on him, something like an epiphany, that the highest office in the kingdom is within reach, as long as your grasp exceeds it, or what’s heaven for, as the poet said.
By stroke of luck or fate, his benefactor offered a deal too hard to resist or refuse. He could have the speakership on a shared term basis with another favored solon. He took the first half of the term, presumably in good faith.
Somewhere along the way, things change with a fork on the road. If there’s a fork on the road, a wag one time said, I’ll take it.
When the time for the other solon to begin his term came as agreed upon,this first speaker thought he had the numbers to stop the other on his tracks. Of course, he invoked love of country, loyalty to his benefactor and some other bunkum in ditching good faith to the deal.
In turned out, numbers can be rigged. The other solon gathered his cohorts in another place and another time to force the speaker out of the borrowed (stolen?) perch.
Still, the speaker did not budge an inch. He even called the coup pals in unsavory terms, obliquely, of course. Binaboy nila ang lehislatura, he described the gathering of political storm that soon would blow him away.
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, it was the pigs that lorded it over other animals. A pig by the name of Napoleon was on top of the heap. There was a Snowball, the strategist. There was Squealer, the propagandist.
There was a commandment in the animal farm: All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.
The speaker’s House seem to resemble Orwell’s fiction too. Some politicians are more equal than others. The speaker probably thought he was of the more favored political kind.
Between an irresistible force and an immovable object, something must give. Momentum versus inertia should result in change. Eventually, the irresistible force won out and momentum displaced the stubborn object.
The speaker, seeing the handwritting on the wall, slunk away into a humiliated posture and, possibly into political oblivion.
At the end of Orwell’s novel, anyone who looked through the window of the house where the pigs and humans were having a party, it was already difficult to distinguish one from the other.
The speaker’s earlier description of the solons who pulled their knives out, figuratively speaking, to get him out of the way to install another more equal solon, should feel like reading Orwell’s book again. In the meantime, his approval or trust rating is likely to go south as the public makes the distinction between a pigpen and a human house.
The moral of the story? Numbers don’t lie but people, especially politicians, do. If they’re lawyers, chances are the odds are higher as the stakes go up proportionally.
Perhaps, it’s time to revisit naming politicians who make laws, for better or for worse, solons. It’s an ongoing egregious insult to the Athenian lawmaker.
For the speaker, who’s probably licking his wounds and pondering about his future in the political kingdom, Solomon can be of help.
The race is not to the swift, he said, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise nor riches to men of understanding nor favor to men of skill but time and chance happen to them all.
The speaker also knows from the sacred book that he loves to quote from, falling and rising again is man’s destiny.