Communication specialist Jose Bayani Baylon is a keen observer of Philippine politics. He is sharing with VERA Files readers his reading of political movements, obvious and not-so-obvious, leading up to the election in May 2022.
When I pick up a political conversation with the Omicron Generation and talk turns to Marcos and Martial Law, I either end up answering question about how it was during the ML years or end up as if I were talking to a blank wall.
And it’s more often the latter than the former.
Again I attribute this to the passing of time. Whether it’s issues of abuses during the Japanese occupation or anti Semitic campaigns during the Nazi era, the excesses during the Chinese cultural revolution or, heck, even the “take it, take it” incident at one film festival, people tend to forget or their passions subside. Eventually, except for those directly affected, these issues are just “noted” or “asterisked” as moments in history and part of the stories of the older generation.
It’s just like a blip on the radar screen – something to notice but not to pay attention to.
The Omicron Generation has many real life survival issues to face. They’d rather focus on that, rightly or wrongly, than on thirty year old historical tragedies even if the latter could repeat itself.
So that explains BLIP ML. In three ways. One, the fact that ML or martial law is now very obviously just a blip (if it is even one at all) in the consciousness of a growing majority of our population. Two, the fact that survey after survey seems to show a significant if not massive base of support for the son and namesake of our ML president.
And third the fact that the rankings in these surveys are usually in the order of BLIP ML: Bongbong, Leni, Isko, Ping, Manny and Leody.
It’s an order that’s driving many of my friends up the wall. “How could we?”, they ask. “How could we not learn from history?” Also, “How could we not reject political dynasties?”.
The first two questions are more difficult to answer than the latter, although as I posited above, the passage of time is a major factor. We don’t have museums or exhibits like they have in other countries where, for example,the civil rights struggle is depicted in many museums across the U.S.A or the concentration camps are preserved in parts of Germany, Poland and even Austria as grim reminders, or heaps of skulls are displayed and a school-turned-torture center is made a major tourist destination and dollar earner in the heart of Phnom Penh.
Or even if we do, do we Filipinos really care? Heck, we are happy to replace patriots (who dedicated their lives for us) with an eagle on our paper currency. Try replacing Ben Franklin on the American $100 with, say, a bison and see what ruckus will be raised in the U.S.
On the other hand, the latter query (Why don’twe reject political dynasties?) is simply rooted in our Filipino DNA where family comes first and society is paternalistic paired with extreme deference to the “nakaka-angat”. All ideal ingredients in fertile soil that an ambitious political leader with a brood can mix together.
And many have.
Put all these in one big pot and simmer for thirty years and you have BLIP ML that will be ready for serving by May.
Unless someone – or something – tips the pot over.
Like the Comelec, perhaps?
The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of VERA Files.