Waiting for adverse reactions

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

In case you have not noticed, even politicians are now being cautious and “waiting for adverse reactions,” not for vaccinations but for their trial balloons and vague pronouncements. Some are even playing proxies or stand ins as they test what the public and the media’s reactions will be to suggestions and “daw” statements or alleged statements, that someone will run, will join, won’t run, etc.

As you may recall, the past few weeks were highlighted or loaded with alleged results of surveys and social media polls announcing the popularity of this politician or that politician or how several fared and ranked. When those results failed to get a second look and were not seriously picked up by the media or the public, I presume some self styled political strategists decided it was time to put a face or name, and stand-ins to find out the public reaction or the “adverse reaction” from people.

Judging from the trial balloons of Trapos and on-cam performances of people aspiring to get back into the national scene, no one is courageous enough or honest enough to publicly and personally declare their interest in running for national positions. Initially, we would be inclined to think that the hesitation or decision to hold back comes from the historical observation that those who express interest early are immediately targeted for elimination or generally run out of steam.

We could also surmise that all the “town criers” or people claiming or speaking on behalf of candidates “on mute” simply want to make their mark early on and be closest to the kitchen of political favors during the actual campaign and in their imagined victory. This is one case when you could wish that these early birds literally get the worms.

These efforts of testing the waters or sending out trial balloons is indicative of the fact that many if not all of them don’t have the confidence that the public will support their plans. They have no continuing history of service and commitment towards the positions they seek or consistency of action and commitment to public service with or without the position, title or office. They are simply recycled Trapos who recreate themselves for whatever position is available because their terms have ended and are going for something winnable, whether as senator, congressman, mayor or governor. Some may actually be competent, some even qualified, but generally lacking in actual presence and delivery of service. They are like the Filipino palitaw – lumulubog, lumilitaw – or some weed which surfaces in opportune weather. Some are equally sickening because of their reason for pursuing public office or an elected position comes from a sense of privilege or entitlement because of their social or economic status or professional bearing.

Worst of all, some of these politicians know they “are” potentially unacceptable, questionable or controversial. As a result they need to first check for “adverse reactions” and the best way is to send out the message but establish deniability. Thus all the self-serving “Thank you for your trust” and “I will serve in any capacity” statements because the lot of them have tarnished their reputations, made enemies and shown their bad side and lack of character in the last two years.

The biggest tragedy in all of this is that these “players” and “jokers” think they are fooling us and treating us like a bunch of children with very short memories and attention span. While most of us are under lockdown in our homes or communities, they fly across the country for their staged appearances, they travel from region to region for political reasons, while COVID-19 rages in those very same regions, clearly proving that there are two sets of rules: one for us and another that makes them exempt.

Mercifully, God is not mocked and cannot be lied to and the Filipino people, even for their seeming immaturity at the polls, will make these pretenders and court jesters pay for their flights of fancy. 2022, unlike past elections, will most likely be a very different and a very tough year for over ambitious hypocrites aspiring for positions they are unqualified for and undeserving of. I am certain that many of them will find themselves confronted with their political sins and short-comings. More importantly, chances are that those who win in 2022 will suffer the same fate as those who won in 2016 – they will end up getting more than they bargained for because of COVID-19.

Many economists, global medical experts as well as political analysts have stressed that the impact and complications from COVID-19 and the global pandemic will still be in full effect beyond 2024 and they were referring to developed countries. For nations like the Philippines, the problems will be even worse. The next administration will feel the squeeze between the US and China, the problem of finding money for the refresh dose of vaccines for 2022 and beyond, how to regenerate the economy, create jobs for millions of Filipinos, how to avoid a failure of Philippine education and deal with severe challenges from climate change and marine pollution. All these while working with a cesspool of leaders who are either selfish, corrupt or absolutely incompetent.

Like many contests and competitions, the run and the wrestling can be exciting and exhilarating, and if you win the rush, jubilation must be incomparable. But when reality settles in, when the problems rush in and the money and the competence is not there, woe to him or her who would be king. Be careful what you wish for because God might just give it to you.

To those who care, try reading Romans chapter one verses 18 to 32. For now I highlight verse 22: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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