EDITORIAL – Easier with Miss Universe than picking a leader

The Freeman

Winning the Miss Universe crown for the Philippines by Pia Wurtzbach couldn't have come at a better time for the country. Coming as it did just a few days before Christmas, nothing could have brought more timely cheer to Filipinos this season than the victory. Something like this does not come along very often. As the records would show, it is only the third time the Philippines won this most prestigious of all beauty crowns.

The achievement, however, should not distract Filipinos from the real goals they need to meet if they are to enjoy real cheer, not only this Christmas but quite possibly for the rest of their lives. And this real cheer will never be theirs by simply achieving ephemeral things. Real things of beauty are those that provide value to human life.

And in that there are many. There is a need to make Filipinos live their lives with dignity. And that comes with beneficial and respectable employment for the majority of the people. There is a need to provide the best and most practical education to all. And that can come only when the government shakes off any and all illusions of being at par with the world and own up the fact that it is not.

There is a need to keep life in the Philippines safe for everyone. And that can come only when government reinvents itself from being an overly-politicized machinery to being a responsive tool able to recognize real and immediate priorities. And then there is that crying need to protect the environment because the clock is really ticking and there might not be anything left but a hostile earth ready to swallow up everything, even our hopes and dreams.

Yes, it is an exhilarating experience to seem to be on top of the world when a compatriot gets declared the most beautiful woman in the universe. The bragging rights come unsolicited and free. All Filipinos need not break a sweat to feel being in the center of, well, the universe. And the rejoicing may last even after the holidays.

But as with all things, the revelry will start to taper off and eventually things will be forgotten. Well, not exactly, in the manner that all statistics are designed to last a long time. What we mean, though, is that reality will have to kick in eventually. We all will have to move on with our lives, away from the cushion of feeling good to the hard and cold floor of getting real.

Almost right after the holidays lurks one of the most crucial challenges facing all Filipinos. In May of next year, the Philippines will be electing its new leader, as it always has every six years. This time, though, things will be different. Never has there been a tougher choice than this one. To be brutally frank, not a soul is truly fit to be president. If only it is as easy as choosing a Miss Universe. But it is not. Worse, the consequences of a mistake are not ephemeral.

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