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EDSA at 2010: Towards a Politics of Hope

In History, Politics on February 25, 2010 at 12:03 pm

by Rosselle Tugade

Throughout the unfolding of history the twin slogans of hope and change have mostly been prostituted and peddled with much ruthlessness and aggression. Underneath the skillful adornment of such buzzwords is a traitorous ambition to write an eschatological account for political life that hails the well-managed bureaucratic nation as the only imaginable habitus for politics with the free market as the only optimal structure of economic organization. Hope and Change have been the golden calves of our time with most of us uncritically worshipping the various gods they represent: a promise of inevitable uniform global progress; a prospect for a tranquil end to all political and historic conflict; and a satisfying ‘social’ existence through ‘legitimate’, ‘process-oriented’, and ‘formal’ mechanisms. The great violence that undergirds all of these is the unapologetic exploitation of the human soul’s ability to genuinely hope, communicate, and act within the context of a vibrant community.

At present, the Philippines is once again under the charming aura of an election season. Arguably, the system of free, fair, and regular elections has been significant for the entry of unorthodox voices in the arena of institutional politics. However, what is increasingly alarming is the content of the discursive map being drawn by the contemporary operators of such a mechanism: that the pinnacle of political life today is the translation of our aspirations into the singular aim of securing and/or enhancing the present order. The political contest is adjudicated in terms of who can deliver the most efficient solutions to day-to-day problems. The destination aimed at, it seems, is a society whose affairs are neatly managed by a benign Leviathan while the corresponding task demanded from the people is to lay down their arms, strip off their labels, aspire for a goal of progress, and work industriously for ‘the good of all’, whatever that may be.

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