Graceful or disgraceful, who knows? We did not have internet connection for the past 4 days.
N.B. I need to make a few tweaks on this post for some communal reasons. I posted this one yesterday prior to visiting Reyna Elena, who is inviting bloggers to join a positive campaign for our beloved Tita Cory –Touch a blogger! Tie a yellow ribbon for Cory Aquino! So, this entry is at the same time my show of solidarity with the ongoing mounting support both online and in the real world, praying for the next sacred path Tita Cory will take.
I hope you notice right from the title of this post: I did combine the legal and political title with “Tita” (Aunt) as the address of endearment to our former President Cory Aquino. It is not accidental that many of us of voting age continue to address Mrs. Aquino as President. I suspect the habit is largely not out of a legal post-term respect she deserves (we do the same for gentlemen Ramos and Estrada). It is more of sifting both consciously and subconsciously the ones exemplary leaders among us from the absolutely non-extendable ones, the present administration especially long muddled by unresolved bigtime issues of accountability and public mistrust. The hunger for a trusted leader couldn’t be more earnest than now; the preventive protest against any iota of term extension couldn’t be more urgent than now. The more the Arroyo presidency appears to maneuver (in the softest, tentative term) those extension possibilities, the more Madam Cory becomes a necessity of our beleaguered young democracy. Urgently, the obvious polar differences give us a sense on who really matters for the health and healing of this crisis country.
When Madam Aquino was elected president, I was only in my wild teen years, more preoccupied in confusion with those jittery testos and other heydays in high school. But I know that on the national scale, the Aquino presidency was more engrossed in taming the belligerent ambitious energy of the few officials in uniform. The restoration of democracy may be less palpable to my intelligence then, and only in retrospect by scanning newspaper clips, or by listening to the stories of social structures and of those old enough to grasp what restoration means at that time, have I arrived to a growing and weighty appreciation of a first woman leadership. Needless do I have to highlight President Aquino’s achievements and Achilles’ heel in this post. We all know what we want from a leader – personal integrity on top of some imagined Lincolnian political brilliance that realistically falls short by degrees regardless of any circumstance. We all know Tita Cory has consistently lived up until now to the bar of integrity, and the thought of this leaves us with some waft of inner peace and contentment. It’s like personally retiring at the end of a busy day, too tired to say a long prayer but a little pensive in bed: “I did my best with the kind of honesty I was called for today. God, pardon my imperfections.”
Yes, as a people, we are often overly demanding, impatient over people we trust to lead us. This is not politically capricious I assume. What turns out capricious is pretension on the part of those acceding to the public expectation to the point of faking the ideals, turning leadership into a show of the superhuman, the invulnerable, the insufferable beings always on the defensive side of proving powerful. Instinctively, it is very easy to develop either abhorrence or apathy against those “aliens” among us.
We get accustomed to calling the President our national Tita because she is human enough before our eyes.
When she confessed hiding under her presidential bed during one of the 7 coup attempts, she made me remember how we crept in fear as a family under our hardwood table when the Typhoon Nitang of 1983 dislodged the roof of our house. For the widows in our midst, who couldn’t identify with the lifelong grief she transforms into a crusade for clean governance? For the mothers among us, patient and long-bearing the weight of prodigality beyond their control of their children, whose lips wouldn’t quiver in silent prayer like those of Augustine’s mother Monica? (Kris, rest assured I did have my prodigal moments, too.) Now, with the existential threat and pain of cancer she contends with, who among us in our existential pains couldn’t resonate by degrees with hers? President Aquino is human enough to mirror our own humanity and so we address her with some juvenile fondness as our Tita Cory; humanly embrace her we do with the sincerest prayer we could muster. Amazingly, this is holy leadership even in pain. Again – amazingly!
Friend, anything that makes you pause as we rally around in prayer for a lovable human being and child of God?
Photo credit: Joe Galvez