POLITICS back home had gradually turned into a world of petty bickering, big money and bad manners. The presidential campaign undeniably takes the surge of the interest in the personalities of the candidates. In turn, it has become a season of poisonous back biting with Pandora’s Box, which has been opened, creating overblown multiple plots. Tabloids ooze with offers, insinuations and blatant, unapologetic approbation, sending aspirants dancing on pin heads.
But campaigning in any presidential election is a process every candidate has to go through. It is like running for your life, and any help is welcome.
Last Sunday, April 3, at the Mayflower restaurant, diehard friend and supporter Ms. Trini Foliente gathered her all Vice President Binay supporters here in Southern California. In an unprecedented glorious celebration of what looked like Community Day for Vice President Binay, simple, happy people mingled with the crème de la crème of the Filipino community in magical fun. Even their hearts danced, with the feast offered — the food aroma alone can elevate your cholesterol level — and they were equipped to feed an army of famished guests that came pouring in hundreds!
One would remember with clarity the first time he sat as Mayor of Makati City (and the hundred days after his election). Binay’s grace, his good manners, are almost as clearly as the substance of our talk, in all the successive meetings here in Los Angeles.
In every small gathering among his constituents was an important meeting. There was an air of excitement about his every act and gesture. Every word for everyone who came to celebrate as guests felt themselves part of history. Something old had gone out and the new had come in, an exciting promise of possibilities and hope. It was indeed an excitement for they have elected the one who fights for the powerless as he moved Makati in the right direction. Whose enormous intelligence and great sense of commitment, is surpassed only by his heart and generosity of spirit.
As he constantly reminded the media fawning over him, he said, “We’re not here to make a point, but to make a difference.” Candor was part of his charm.
My conversation with the Vice President, through the years, simply sparkled. He was a lawyer, his movements were exploratory, from one area of interest to another, moving around with a lot of questions and answers. We talked in a comfortable confidentiality, as he sorted into his young life, as truthful and candid, with wit and charm that was delightful.
Today, the political cauldron back home has started to boil. Everything that has been said, felt, done or thought by every aspiring presidential candidate was beyond rules, beyond judgment. It seems the power to repair the country was already in the candidates’ hands.
He had experienced moments in all colors, uttered brilliance, persuaded by coaching his remarks in words of genuine concern. Laughed and wept, married and had children, taught as well as learned.
His abstraction in life were form the times, as an astute and dedicated civil rights lawyer, he has been down in the dirt literally picking up dead bodies, stabbed, bludgeoned on the pavement and had seen man’s inhumanity against a fellow human being. And yet he speaks the mantra of resilience of the spirit, in spite of a bruising campaign.
He is our country’s biggest cheerleader now, and like the rest of his supporters, I am looking forward to that day – we all get to cheer him up, into the greater political path he has chosen, no longer the president we had hoped for, but the president of our country.