Friday, April 17, 2015

Continuity versus change

INDEED 2016 is fast approaching and October is five months away before aspirants file their certificates of candidacy. By June, we would have a clearer environment on who are running for the presidency. Would a late September filing be in the making? We hope this does not happen since it would be to the interest of the voters to get to know the candidates more and be able to scrutinize the candidates well but not in a manner of demolishing each other just to prove to all one is clean. There’s got to be a better way to screen out candidates. Absent any primaries and run offs, we need to devise a mechanism whereby we are able to select well given the options.
Continuity assumes that the candidate can stand on the record or accomplishment of the incumbent. The presumptive candidate of the Liberal Party would not only stand by the record but also share the burden of the negatives, such as they used all the levers in the impeachment of Corona; DAP, PDAF; Luneta hostage taking; Yolanda; airports and LTO mess; Mamasapano with the BBL and SAF 44; Napoles and allies who have been saved from shame; Conditional Cash Transfer and so much more.
Change, on the other hand, is the platform of those wanting to build a different path not totally erasing the gains of the Aquino administration but adding on to respond directly on the issues of inclusive growth; early implementation of infrastructure plan in order to build the country’s roads, bridges, airports and ports; and fighting corruption as well as drug abuse.
Continuity does not take into consideration a different lens altogether. Rather it is having the same view of how things are and what solutions need to be put together to respond to the problems. After six years of the Aquino administration, surely people, and voters at that, would want a different way of looking at things and a new way of solving problems. Continuity could usher in stability but if the norm of the Aquino administration will be carried over, predictability would be an early casualty.
Continuity also assumes that the work ethic and management are tops and these are not today. If continuity means having no cabinet meetings, operating in silos, the National Security Council not meeting at all and the LEDAC and JELAC sidelined, should we want more of the same? Surely, those framing the debate is totally missing the point. Continuity is static, passive and lazy. Change is energy, active and hardworking.
Change takes into consideration how power is achieved and used in the country. It focuses on relationship between leaders and followers. It likewise anchors its accomplishment on social change or “alteration in the social order of a society. Social change may include changes in nature, social institutions, social behaviors, or social relations.” Change is hard to come by but if we want our country to build on our gains and use creatively our sweet spot, we need to dream bigger and greater things as a nation, then settle on a hohum manner of building the nation.
Social change may refer to the notion of “social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic structure, for instance a shift away from feudalism and towards capitalism” or from unitary to federal or greater autonomy or inclusiveness than an oligarch-led growth. “Social change may be driven by cultural, religious, economic, scientific or technological forces. Developmental psychology can play a role in social change. Developmental psychology is essential in looking at the history of magic, religion, science, morals, law, politics, the economy, and more. Without this, instead of a rise in industrial technology and medical advances, humans could still be thinking with cave-man-like thinking.”
If the framing of the presidential debate for 2016 is continuity versus change, one needs to look at the survey results and see that there is an incipient constituency for change, or shall we say resignation. It may not be the wisest thing to do in an administration that is winding down, but after the last SONA in July 2016, things will again unravel politically. The hope is that there will be no man-made or natural disasters because the country can’t afford any after all that we have been through as a nation in the last five years.
The world order is evolving and to be stuck in a paradigm of continuity is a very dangerous option. Evolution is change, not continuity. Mamasapano is an example of that changing world order and as one author pointed out, “we still lack a language to assess this emergent world order, and possess no regulatory or normative framework within which to distinguish what is legitimate, prudent, and permissible from what is illegitimate, imprudent, and impermissible.” So would you still consider continuity as the best alternative for our country come 2016?
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present is certain to miss the future.” Amazingly, only those for the status quo or business as usual would view continuity as the only way. They should be informed that five years ago, they shouted change. “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world, for, indeed, that’s all who ever had.”

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