Too many things wrong with our country

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Philippine Star

NEW YORK CITY— I left Manila with my daughter Katrina last Wednesday via Delta Airlines Flt. No. DL-172. Since we were taking off from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), I thought that it was the perfect time to size up this international airport that earned the unenviable title of the “Worst International Airport in the World.”

But since my wife Jessica left a week earlier also on Delta Air, she gave us some tips how to avoid the hassles in that airport that results in lots of horror stories. So when we got inside the terminal though the lines were long another door was opened so we didn’t have to wait too long.

One major tip that I got from my wife was to do an online check-in. In doing so we really avoided the very long and frustrating lines that most passengers have to endure. Perhaps the biggest load that came off our shoulders was the courtesy afforded to us by Delta Airlines staff who made things much easier…to the point that we were even invited in the Delta Sky Lounge. Hmmm did someone tip them that I was taking that flight to the US?

One thing that Delta Airlines had was called Comfort Economy. They are actually economy seats that are much wider and have a longer leg room than most economy class seats. Most important of all, our flight schedules with Delta Airlines was right on the dot. We arrived in Narita, Japan for a lay over and left also on the dot.

So what do you do on board a plane bound for New York City? Watch movies of course, after all, I am on vacation. But there was one documentary by HBO entitled “Ethel” which was the story of Mrs. Ethel Kennedy, the wife of my 1960’s idol as told by her own family. Yes I grew up in school meeting Peace Corps assigned in Cebu and even my cousin got married to a volunteer. Those were the Kennedy years that has touched my life and shaped my growth.

I will never forget the inaugural speech of Pres. John F. Kennedy when he said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This is why during my college days at the University of San Carlos (USC) I took up the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) without complaints because this was my way of “doing for my country,” while many of my friends tried to get away from ROTC. Yes, ROTC is the only course in college that teaches a student love of country!

Watching  the  documentary  movie “Ethel”  reminded  me  of  how the United States was in the 60s with the Civil Rights Movement, when colored people were discriminated despite the fact that the US Civil War had ended a hundred years earlier. The Kennedy brothers, Pres. Jack and Bobby Kennedy supported the Civil Rights Movement, until the assassination first of Martin Luther King and later, Pres. Jack Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. It was then that Robert Kennedy took on his brother’s legacy to fight for Justice in America.

That film showed Bobby Kennedy visiting the slums of New York and in Mississippi where he saw first hand the poverty in America. It was then that he decided to run for the US Presidency. In his speech to run for the Presidency, Bobby Kennedy said, “I ran for the Presidency of the United States to bring hope instead of despair.” As you very well know, when Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was leading in the primaries for the Presidency of the United States when on June 4, 1968, Sirhan Sirhan cut down that legacy.

I will never forget the stirring words of Sen. Edward Kennedy during the eulogy for Bobby Kennedy in St. Patrick’s Cathedral when he said, “My brother need not be idealized when largely and in death beyond, he was in life to be remembered simply as a good decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it, he saw suffering and tried to heal it and saw war and tried to stop it.”

Watching that documentary, I could only imagine that the Philippines today is in a similar situation as America back in the 1960. We too have an economy that has enriched those who are already rich. What we need is an economy where no one is left behind. Alas, the Aquino regime has no more plans up in their sleeves that they should be implementing at this time.

`Our country today is at the crossroads of history. We have seen the wrong done to the Filipino people by the political elite with their greed and an indignant nation rallying at the Luneta and in Fuente Osmeña in Cebu in the hope that they would right those wrongs. Believe me, there are just too many things wrong in our country today.

At this point, I don’t see President Aquino making a 180 degree U-turn and start moving forward. It’s a bit too late in the hour for that. I dare say that time has come for real political reforms. But that can only happen if they call a Constitutional Convention (Con-con). But then time waits for no one and President Aquino has wasted his popularity to satisfy only his vengeance.

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