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Jan 07

Quote of the day

A lot of our people who belong to the best elements will have nothing to do with politics because they believe it is dirty. In other words, they leave politics to those who are not so clean, and then wonder why the government does not run as well as it should; the opposition to have anything to do with it, they say, is that they themselves may get contaminated.
Joaquin “Chino” Roces

21 comments

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  1. Carl

    There’s nothing uplifting in having to swallow loads of crap, then dishing it out too.

  2. cvj

    In one of those political talk shows in the late 80’s, when a similar remark against ‘politics’ was made, Jovito Salonga tried to rescue the term by reciting the definition as per the dictionary. For good reason,
    it came off as a feeble attempt then and as i’m sure it would now. But the fact remains that the quality of the political ecosystem is the responsibility of every citizen. We have to do our part in growing good
    politicians and letting the bad ones die out. No points for washing our hands off the matter ala Pontius Pilate…

  3. Jon Mariano

    I’ve always thought that politics is fine, it was the politicians who were dirty (a cliche). But the point that we the people allow them to be such must also be acknowledged. After all, we put the sitting ones in power ourselves.

  4. joey legarda

    lets face it, politics has ruined us, divided us, created so much animosity & who knows what else.
    we really have to go back to basics of life.
    before we can play politics we first have to be humane & make sure that our hang-ups don’t control us.
    makes me wounder if we really would fight for a 2007 election yet by force of habit.
    or are we really convinced that indeed there are better things to do.

  5. Jon Mariano

    Politics will always be there, just like the law of supply and demand. Who can repeal the law of supply and demand?

    As for the elections in 2007, I am for it. It’s one program (and constitutionally provided at that) where the people’s voice is heard. It’s no excuse that people are undermining it thru cheating. It’s a different issue altogether. How else can we show displeasure with the current administration?

  6. cvj

    We have to distinguish politicking from elections. While politicking is detrimental, electoral exercises are an indispensable means for peaceful feedback. Moreover, each national election has provided an opportunity for a shared learning experience. For example, if Erap were not elected, how else can we be made aware that the masses have grown impatient with the ‘trickle down’ approach? The tragedy is that a number of the upper and middle class got the wrong lessons and took on the expedient attitude that it was better to cheat than to let FPJ win. See where that got us. The cynics are free to sit out the next one, but let not their disappointments hold back hopes of the rest.

  7. holyfather

    may I offer the oft-quoted paragraph from TR: “it is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

    Chino Roces, may his soul rest, there is an entire generation of Filipinos who are preparing to take their nation back.

  8. baycas

    ever considered the phrase “cleaned by politics” (or “cleaned with politics”) rather than “tainted by politics” (or “tainted with politics”)?

    …makes one think that “dirty politics” is plainly pleonastic.

  9. Carl

    Hmmm…”great enthusiasms”, “great devotions”, “worthy cause”, “high achievement”, “daring greatly”. It must be about some other endeavor, not politics in the Philippine setting. Many “new generations” claimed they would take the nation back. What happened to them? They were corrupted and sucked into the system. No need to name names, but most know who they are.

    Having said that, the situation isn’t hopeless. But there must be a change in the system. Otherwise, more quixotes will just be sucked into the windmills.

  10. Marcus Aurelius

    Even in the USA many people regard politics as dirty and corrupt (there are cases of out and out corruption one recent case of a CA congressman just sent up for taking bribes). Teddy Roosevelt’s passage is about leadership in any human endeavor politics (anywhere) included.

    I highly doubt any politico starts out dreaming to be in a position of taking big bribes more likely is the dream of being in a position of leading others in good acts.

  11. Jon Mariano

    Sorry, politics to me is something like number 4.

    1. Social relations involving authority or power
    2. The study of government of states and other political units
    3. The profession devoted to governing and to political affairs
    4. Social relations involving authority or power

    From this definitions, there really is nothing wrong with it. Could we have given it a wrong connotation just like a “motel”? Only in the Philippines is the word “motel” to have the connotation of quickie sexual relations…

  12. jhay

    for the nth time, politics itself is not dirty only in the hands of man does it become dirty, i think it was plato who said this, was it?

  13. cvj

    Jon & Jhay, i agree with your comments above, but restating the original meaning of the word does not alter political reality on the ground. Carl’s point is that the current system (ever since WWII) tends to attract the wrong kind of people or encourage bad behavior. Given that completely disengaging from political matters is not desirable, something in the system has to change to rescue the word from its current common usage. It may take this generation and the next, but it will be done as long as we don’t resort to short cuts.

  14. holyfather

    Carl, your cynicism is precisely what is causing our nation to stay bogged-down. We urgently need Don Quixotes because if they don’t show up pretty soon, we will all be reduced to ranting uselessly in these blogs.

  15. Carl

    Idealism needs to be tempered with some cynicism. One also needs to absorb the facts on the ground. It is as cvj says, we need to concentrate on systemic change before we enter the madhouse that is Philippine politics. Otherwise, if one plays by the current rules (or non-rules), one gets coopted into the system. People tell me that Mike Defensor was once a very noble and idealistic young man. There are countless examples like that. Even Ferdinand Marcos was once considered an idealistic young man who would bring the Philippines into a new era. Well, he did bring the country into new lows in history.

  16. joey legarda

    Jon Mariano, sadly politics will always be there.but, will we allow it to control our lives? Is an eleaction a gurantee that we will have less of it.when we very well know what eleaction are all about in this country?Or has election been just a sort of an escape valve for the Nation.a sort of a physcological feeling that an excercie is done but in reality has it been a factor that the country really progres? Or we just have more of the same.
    We all know that politician can be elected for the strangist reasons.Election is “blackmail” time between those who can give the votes & those who will compramise for the vote.If we are in deep shit today maybe it’s because there have been so many endeless acomodations that have watered down our democracy.

  17. Jon Mariano

    Phlippine politics is as Joey describes it. Elections though have served it’s purpose, that is for the citizenry to make their voice heard. Now that there are a few politicians ruining the process, are we going to get rid of it?

    Kung tumutulo ang bubong, are we going to tear the house down and build a new one? Not really, the sensible thing to do is fix the hole in the roof. We therefore need to fix the election process, not get rid of it.

  18. fencesitter

    i wonder how a person who shuns politics because it seem dirty to him/her can belong to the best elements of society? If politics is about leadership and governance, then the best elements of society are those who try to be of service in order that a good and clean governance will work for the people even if they themselves may be muddied in the process.

    In my own way of looking at things, during my (this) time, i can only name three persons who i can say belong to the best elements or, shall i say, are and was in their best elements – Jovito Salonga, Raul Roco and up to some extent, perhaps Fidel Ramos.

  19. Jon Mariano

    During Rizal’s time, he was the odd man out. His way was thru peace and non-aggression means. If the best elements of the society shun politics (in the current meaning: effecting change thru power, getting your way thru power, enriching your way thru power, having power for the sake of power), it should be acceptable as they might opt for other means of change.

    What other means are there? I can think of changing people thru education, by supporting poor but deserving kids get well educated. As Joey mentioned in past comments, by doing your part as a good member of society. Some other things I liked was that little book by a certain Alex Araneta entitled “12 little things I can do” (not sure of the exact title), that contains 12 things we can specifically do ourselves to help our society.

  20. fencesitter

    Being political doesn’t necessarily means becoming a politician. We can be in politics even by just participating in healthy political discussion that seeks to clarify the issue of the day,like what we do in this blog. In that sense we gain education through opinion makers and perhaps in the end make an enlightened decision about what our forsaken nation needs of us.

    That is why i cannot quite accept that those who shun politics has the rihgt to belong to the “best element of society”. We can participate in politics in many a different ways. Nobody has the right to fencesit(aray)at a point when the nation is in crisis, even if your are named sarcastisally as mine.

  21. joey legarda

    Jon what i’m trying to say is since it appears that election is not working for us.why not be more concerned to addressing points that weaken the elctoral proceses.i’m sure that letting the 2007 election slide will not hurt us.it will only hurt those w/ an agenda to push.
    postponing election in the past has happened for the purposes of syncronization.read alex magnos article 01/10/05.
    we are a nation very much of “form” but lots of time very poor in substance.
    if we really want change.we should also be couragous enough to try new things.insted we seems to be tied down to so many things.
    it’s a fact that the no-el is forever connected to 2005.if we can’t seem to let go what more the charcters who are maing zillions from the present system.
    personaly, i think we can put one over those exploiting the system through election by depriving them their “toy”.just like taking away drugs from a junky.

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