When Senator Benigno Aquino III became an apparent Presidentiable, many people have considered his decision to go on a retreat as “gimmickry,” not the least of which was Malacañang. Of course it’s a gimmick; as gimmicks go, it invokes the mythical and the literary. Like the temptation of Christ, for example. Or the Buddha’s quest for the middle way. Or Jurgis Rudkus hoboing it in the American farm towns (no, not the game, but Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle) before he makes it back to the Chicago stockyards and discovers socialism.
Or even Shaider entering the Strange Realm to kick Fumma ass while controlling Vavilos… not that there’s anything wrong with it, though.
On one hand, the least we can give him – as his supporters claim – is the space to go off to Besides, Noynoy is the character choice: no pretenses, total honesty, complete faith that he may need soul-searching, or build his confidence to seek the highest post in the land. Noynoy is a man on, or to be more precise with, a mission. Every expectation we have from his predecessors, we lean upon him. Not that he’s the messiah or the savior, but because some of us expect him to be the next President. The social project of EDSA continues, and who better to lead and inspire us to that road than him?
Yet on the other hand, Noynoy’s retreat may be just pa-simple pa-drama that heightens the anticipation of him saying “yes” anyway, by “divine guidance” or whatever it is you get from retreats. Besides, the skeptic or the cynic would say that an Aquino bid would be nothing more than the affirmation of dynasties, that it’s the Pinoy version of Camelot, that we are plebeians paying tribute through the vote. The very thing we’re fighting against may very well be the thing we support in the end, resulting in a foot-in-mouth situation that becomes the exemption only when the advantage works for us. Besides, Noynoy has been very wishy-washy about it in a job where wishy-washiness can destroy.
I have to admit that I was totally frustrated – heck, pissed off – by what seemed to be Noynoy’s indecisiveness on the panty shot called the Presidency (there, I said it). Because of fate, destiny, and everything else, Noynoy is basically today’s Shaider that we – if not most and if not some – expect to fight the Fuuma. It is very clear, at least to me, that the window of opportunity for Noynoy to back up and surrender a possible candidacy to someone like, say, Nick Perlas, is closing in slowly if he does not cash this chance in. Noynoy is being handed over the Presidency on a silver platter. Think about it: Mar Roxas gives up his bid, never mind how showbizzy it was and it’s probably a political maneuver. It’s getting very difficult for him to say “no.” And yet he continues saying so.
Of course it’s a “gimmick:” the kind of hero-making and myth-building that comes with making a President since Bonifacio versus Aguinaldo, Quezon and Osmeña, Aquino and Laurel. It’s part and parcel of our political culture: our politics is founded on the fact that we all live around expectations, making them and breaking them. What makes it so wrong is precisely what makes it right: surrounded by abusing and marauding Fuuma-types in Government, we need someone to live up to our expectations because we’ve already done what we could. We need deliverance whichever way we can get it. No amount of newspaper column-writing or blogging will bring that deliverance to, at the very least, a glimmer of a possibility if the person we look up to does not make up his mind.
In rekindling the spirit of EDSA post-Cory through Noynoy, it’s 1986 all over again: the son in a very similar position as his father and his mother back in the days of Marcos, the Alexis and Annie to our democracy. Noynoy cannot back out of it anymore and delay it any further with pa-kipot. Whatever trepidation and fear he has in not being competent enough to run – history is full of incompetent leaders at it stands – will be tested by harsher realities than prayer and meditation.
All I’m saying is that Noynoy Aquino should just suck it up, concretize his agenda, gather his supporters, and make his run. Whether he wins or loses is not the business of the fantasies of a retreat, but the realities of a campaign – Vavilos – where the true mettle of a candidate is tested.
Here’s 2010, Noynoy; make up your mind. There are enemies at the gate, boy. Vavilos awaits.