Thursday, March 16, 2006

RP politics and the allegorical bus

Here's an interesting email forwarded to us, explaining the political crisis and the need to oust Arroyo by likening our political life to a bus journey.

It might convince some who are still thinking twice about joining the oust movement and might answer some questions regarding the prospects of the movement.

We are posting the email, said to have come from a writer from Northern Dispatch, a weekly newspaper in Baguio, in full:

Hi A--

Let me try to explain it this way: Our political
system is like a rundown bus that's more and more
frequently breaking down, and we are the passengers
who find ourselves in a very extended trip, much of it
over rough routes with many detours -- in a sort of
Extra-Challenge and Pinoy-Big-Brother type of reality
game. (How we got on this bus and over this route is a
long story.)

When the trip started, we were told that we would
periodically vote among ourselves who should be the
driver. (Many of us are capable drivers and mechanics,
and others have been acquiring the same skills along
the way. And by the way, some of us are armed --
supposedly for the protection of all the passengers.)

The problem is that one extremely ambitious, abusive
and irresponsible driver named Marcos took it upon
himself to make all trip decisions, prevent efforts to
replace him with other drivers, and bribe the armed
escorts to do his bidding. He not only abused the
other passengers but the bus engine itself, choosing
unknown detours and worsening the entire situation.

Most passengers wanted him kicked out, but he in turn
began to hogtie or kill other drivers. In a fit of
hubris, he called for an impromptu election at
gunpoint. The passengers supported a charming lady
named Cory who wasn't really a good driver (there were
many much better drivers), but she could persuade
everyone to cool off and sit down for a while while
rethinking what to do next.

The abusive driver was kicked out, we stopped for
repairs, the periodic driver change was resumed -- not
really perfect choices and the very rough route tended
to turn good drivers into bad ones. For some weird
reason, we soon chose a driver who was very popular
but a committed drunkard, gambler and womanizer. He
was a clear and present danger to the bus, and so we
had to kick him out before his time was up.

(How we persuaded the armed escorts to agree with us
in kicking out Marcos, and later Erap, is another

But this time, we chose to get along with Erap's
assistant driver -- a Nora Aunor look-alike who had a
winning smile and seemed capable. She was indeed
capable of doing unimaginable things. She turned out
to be a Marcos-like gremlin who used black magic to
reelect herself, and who is now driving our
dilapidated bus like Rocky Horror Picture Show over
precipitous mountain trails.

Most passengers are now screaming, "Get that monster
off the wheel, for God's sake, she's gonna kill us
all!" Some of the more responsible passengers have
actually organized a plan to jump the gremlin and
wrestle her to the ground while a temp driver -- any
capable temp driver, for God's sake! -- shifts to
engine brake, goes into to a controlled skid before we
all fall into the precipice, and maneuvers to a safe

A few passengers don't like the idea. One asks, "Is
this constitutional?" But we've been through this
before, when we replaced Marcos with Cory, Erap with
GMA. Another thinks, "But who's going to be the next
long-term driver? Won't he turn out to be a worse
gremlin?" Another passenger wants to simply get off
the bus and hitch another ride. One guy doesn't want
to be disturbed because he's busy selling
tranquilizers to other passengers. A few others doubt
if the plan will work, and have adopted a wait-and-see

You, A--, are particularly interested in who's going
to be the next driver. Most passengers certainly will
have their say on this matter once it comes to a vote.
But first let us all move to stop the gremlin in her
tracks. Any capable and responsible driver (or team of
drivers) already located near the seat should do for
now -- after all, the task of the moment is to bring
the bus to a temp halt and let the engine rest for a
while as the passengers cool off, regain their
bearings, and agree on the route, where and how to
repair the bus, who will be the drivers that must
cooperate to take us there.

Oh yes, we are a contentious lot of passengers, and
some of the armed escorts are up to no good
themselves. But the most important concern is for all
passengers to take directly responsibility for the
bus, and kick out the gremlin -- NOW! -- before she
drives us all into perdition.

I rather like the idea of bringing the bus, even if
very slowly, to the next crossing, where (hopefully)
all the passengers can agree on an alternative route
to our final destination, and organize a convoy of
locally assembled but tried and tested jeepneys, even
tricycles kung yun lang ang meron, to get there, still
as a group.

As for the tired bus, we can return later and haul it
to the museum, and I can try to answer truthfully when
my grandchildren ask, "Eh, Lolo, bakit kasi ang tagal
nyong nagtiyaga diyan sa sira-sirang bus at nagpatali
sa paisa-isang driver na dinala kayo sa mali-maling
ruta, e pwede naman pala kayong mag-convoy sa maraming
dyip at mas maraming driver na susunod sa gusto
ninyong ruta?"



At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bus analogy is flawed precisely because the driver does not want us to get to our destination - our just future. She is a danger to all of us, when she wants us all to fall into the precipice. And we are not headed in the same direction she wants us to take.


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