Whatever the election turnout, abandoning ship isn’t the way to go

Art by Jao San Pedro

If so and so wins the election, I’m leaving the country,” say the supposed children of this beautifully tragic nation jokingly. Ever since the start of this election week, Rizal’s so-called hope of the nation had been showing their dismay of the election results either through memes or what some would consider TLDR (too long didn’t read) rants. Most of us aren’t hiding our disappointment in the results of the elections so far. But you can see by just scrolling down news feed that some are direct and some are not. It’s fine because it’s our generation’s form of catharsis regardless. Say what you will about social media, but what we post online still holds as some form of a safe space. The range of our venting has gone from we failed our national heroes to I will cut my penis off in front of the Oblation statue if DU30 wins. The last one has seriously blown up to an actual event on Facebook. However funny or thought-provoking these rants are, the one we should think twice about is leaving the country if ever things go south.

This status has been said through different statements, even in a form of a starter pack meme, but the context remains the same. It’s just a joke. Why should it be given a second thought? Aren’t people just letting off steam? Well, let’s not deny that jokes are always half meant. There’s a little essence of truth somewhere between the cynicism and dry laughter. Because this simply means that a part of us is considering giving up on this nation filled with so much history and so much tragedy. Should we even bother to blow off the dust of old history textbooks in order to remember the countless lives sacrificed for this nation to prosper? We could go as far as Lapu-Lapu and his men fighting colonizers off our Pearl of the Orient to this march on EDSA that our parents or even grandparents went to so our freedoms are regained.

Freedom is such an abstract concept, defined in different ways, but whatever they were experiencing that felt endless to them? That wasn’t freedom. If it was, why bother fighting something that will benefit future generations to come? It doesn’t end on EDSA, for sure. Tragedy after tragedy followed. It seems like this country’s youth are born out of it. Maybe that’s why we’re so numb when it comes to watching or reading the news from time to time. It doesn’t faze us anymore. We see it or live through it every day. We accept the cold, hard fact that so and so died today or so and so stole from the nation’s funds. Escaping this country’s endless cycle with one flight away doesn’t sound absurd anymore. If anything, it sounds like a sane and rational decision. People who are dismayed after the results were released aren’t to blame. This country’s track record of bad decisions surpasses generations. If you’re given a lifeboat to get off a sinking ship, the sane option is to take it. But is this the moment to do so or is it a call to action?

“Our roots were made sturdy for us to grow together not for us to wither apart. Whether we like it or not, we live by this country’s terms of democracy. Our opinions vary but we the people have decided. It is the majority that wins… maybe.”

That’s up to ourselves and to whatever truth we hold on to. Although, let’s be reminded that these past sacrifices aren’t just facts we had to remember in order to pass a test we crammed for. These events are the undeniable roots of this country’s present. Roots that were kept intact for us to enjoy and for us to rise upon. One might say that they did not ask for this, but this is something beyond our control. It’s a present from past faces we’ll never encounter. This is an inescapable truth we have to live with, whether we choose to stay or go. Another inescapable fact is that we are Filipinos and it isn’t a light switch we flicker on or off at will. It will always be an undeniable part of us.

Our roots were made sturdy for us to grow together not for us to wither apart. Whether we like it or not, we live by this country’s terms of democracy. Our opinions vary but we the people have decided. It is the majority that wins… maybe. The corruption in this nation runs deep that sometimes we don’t even know anymore if the decision is ours or has been made for us. Regardless, we had to stand by on the circumstances that are given to us. It’s so tempting to leave this chaos behind. But to abandon it completely is to spit on this country’s past and to give up on its future.

This country has been through a lot and there seems to be plenty more in store. Let’s brace up for what the future holds and face it head on for we aren’t the last children of this nation. One day, they will take our place and if they canenjoy a better Philippines, that’ll be our legacy in their textbooks.


Share this: