By Cyrain Cabueñas
SELF-PROCLAIMED visionaries, palm readers and feng-shiu experts predict the Year of the Dog as a year of fortune and luck. But a social critic could have paraphrased it fittingly in his historical novel A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the worst of times…it was the age of foolishness…it was the epoch of incredulity… it was the season of darkness…it was the winter of despair…”
2017 was already one heck of a year and chances are its bumpy ride will continue for a while longer.
When lying becomes a form of communication, when leaders’ words are held sacred and defended tooth-and-nail however inappropriate and obtuse, when authorities could not and do not stop crime but seem to reinvent it, when accountability is wanting and reprehensible policies are no longer challenged, when our normally placid existence is shaken up, it is not much of a stretch to predict like the literary giant Charles Dickens that we are headed in the wrong direction.
Yet leaders who seem incapable of any form of introspection continue to enjoy a cult-like following. So inured to the casual callousness and misogyny, coarse language spoken publicly by coarse people has become commonplace. Shockingly, many no longer consider profanity profane at all. Garbage used to be in Batasan Hills, now it is everywhere, in conferences and national TV.
For the underlings, it is just macho talk. A much-needed trait for tough leaders to get things done. Toughness seen and heard time and again among those who displease them or those who don’t stoop so low. How can church leaders, the Pope including, afford a filthy verbal joust? And it is unthinkable for dignitaries like Ban Ki Moon or Obama to trade insults even with an Uson, a Sasot, or a Roque. The latter will win hands down.
When people pick their battle one wonders if it belongs to the category of macho. Would Putin, Xi Jinping, and even Trump be in the line of fire? You be the judge. Somebody once boasted to reclaim disputed territories via a jet-ski and warns a bloody invasion and the rest is history.
If civilized people are gripped by fear, does a seemingly uncivilized regime feel the same thing? Is nobody trying to break the oppressive silence or everybody is content with degenerates who continue swinging their weight around? Or should we wait in vain for another Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who documented Stalin’s Gulag or another Anne Frank who disclosed Hitler’s concentration camps to realize that we have among us an outrageous and brutish behavior of a Stone Age proportion?
One literary prophet Conrado de Quiros puts it well: “Vampires do not fear the dark, they fear the light. Tyrants do not fear tyranny, they fear decency.”