There is much wisdom in these words from Ecclesiastes (Kohelet). “There is a time for everything under the sun.”
Those words echo in my head every time I read about “what’s wrong in the Philippines.” Quite a number of people have spoken to me about it. And I have read many of the same themes in blogsites.
Some believe it is cultural.
Some believe an oligarchy is to blame.
Some believe it is a moral question.
Don’t be surprised if the “why” has been asked. The rhetoric of course has been repeated quite often enough, generation after generation.
I can relate to the question.
I have pondered on the puzzle of why there isn’t any growth. In the six years that I have blogged, it was the central focus of my attention. Consider “State of the Filipino Nation,” as a conclusion to my own soul-searching of what’s wrong. It can be summed up simply as, “Incapacity breeds poverty.”
It was why the answer to the political calculus had to be the election of a second Aquino president. To being some sense of civility into our national life, however imperfect. It was to still the political waters, and in so doing give our nation a chance to breathe. And why that choice has given a nation an opportunity to dream again.
The Whys, and the Whats of the political calculus has been asked. They have been answered. The proper question, We the People must now ask is, “How to fix?”
To borrow the words of Elliot S. Maggin, “Our proper response to the inexorable march of progress that has brought us to this place, and time in the history of civilization is to find a way to confront it responsibly. Not modestly. Not unselfconsciously. Not with faith in a power greater than ours to descend from the sky and set things right despite our best efforts to screw up. We have an obligation to know who we are, and where we are, and what we can do. We have an obligation to understand the ramifications of the things we do, and to choose to do them– or not– with our eyes open.”
Which is why, the second part of the calculus must be, responsible citizenship. And this whole notion of Responsible Citizenship is an answer to that decades long question of what’s wrong with the Philippines.
These are just a few responses to the call of citizenship.
It is why it is important for the future to have Better Internet.
It is why it is important for the future to have Reproductive Health.
It is why it is important for the future to have Freedom of Information.
It is why it is important for the future to have basic education.
It is why at the heart of each of these is the wisdom to empower people; to enable them, not to trap them in the past; to free them, not to enslave them; to let them live.
That is the task of responsible citizenship today.
There is a time for everything under the sun. The time for soul-searching is at an end. It is now time for responsible citizens to act.
Without doubt it is all easier said than done.
Without doubt all around us are questions of inequality; of instability, and a world so unsustainable that if we think about all the crisis we are facing today, on a personal level, and as a people, and the challenge we are about to face… it can be so overwhelming.
There is much wisdom in these words from Reinhold Niebuhr. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
Photo credit: Salagdoong Beach Siquijor, Philippines by Storm Crypt