This last year has been filled with so much anger and fear and hate. I don't remember being so upset during an election, after the election, and 100 days after the election. But I've always prided myself in listening. And I have listened to my friends who supported Duterte and I still don't understand them entirely but at least I no longer view them as "the other." While I'm afraid and angry now, they've had to live with their fear and anger far longer than I've had. And it is not a good place.
In the last year, everyone's been blaming everyone else for the shit hole we're in. It's the fault of the elite and the oligarchs. It's the fault of the church (and that means Catholic, Born Again, INC, etc.). It's the fault of the government. It's the fault of the 16 million. It's the fault of Duterte. But no one ever owned up and said, "This is a terrible world we live in and it's MY fault."
We allowed this to happen. We let 16 million people and their families suffer for so long. We allowed the oligarchs to do their musical chairs game with the government positions. We continued to vote for corrupt and ignorant and greedy people. Or we didn't vote at all. Pinayagan natin bastusin ang mga kababaihan natin because that's just how men are—bastos. We agreed that gays are worse than animals. We let people fan the flames of hate and fear in the name of free speech. We allowed a dictator and his family to not just return but we also placed them in positions of honor in government and society. We didn't demand for our money back. We broke the law, we didn't pay our taxes, we didn't obey traffic rules. We never demanded for our government to do their job and we didn't punish them when they didn't. We approve the murder of our fellow Filipinos simply because we think we're better than them.
We let things slide. We fell asleep. We didn't care. This is all our fault.
You know how on critical comments on Facebook posts about Duterte, all of his supporters always reply with, "Dami mong satsat pero may nagawa ka na ba para sa bansa natin?" May point sila. Ano na nga ba ang nagawa natin para sa bansa natin? Let that be a challenge to all. Although I used to think paying my taxes, being a good citizen and a good person is enough. Now, it's not enough. It's not enough pala.
Let us all rise to the challenge! Change hasn't come and it will not come while we're all fighting each other. I'm not saying we should just shut up. We can fight each other (I always love a good fight) but at the end of the day, we also have to work together. And—lame, corny, and hippie this may sound—we have to love each other, be kind to one another, help each other. It's the only way we can get out of this pit of hate, anger, malice and fear.
I'm tired of the finger-pointing, the blaming of others for what's happening to our country and the world. I'm tired of being angry and afraid! I'm going to do something about it. This is on me. I have to make the world a better place. My sacred duty! As a mother, I have a huge responsibility to raise boys who won't grow up to be bastos, women-hating, pussy-grabbing jerks. I'm going to teach my kids to be loving and compassionate, to treat girls with respect, to treat everyone with respect. I'm going to teach them courage to always stand up when life knocks them down, to trust in their fellow man, to have faith in the goodness of man. And then I'll have to teach them to love learning, to ask the right questions, to think critically, to always listen and understand their fellow man even if they're vastly different from each other.
And then outside my family, I will have to be kinder now. No more angry rants on Facebook! Wala namang natulong yan. I must find ways to help others. I don't know how considering I'm neck deep in childcare right now and we are just making ends meet, but I will figure things out. I'll start with this blog. I'll use my voice and whatever influence people say I have to encourage love, kindness, compassion and courage; to rally mothers of boys to raise them to be great and feminist men; to help working mommies like me get through the day with grace and strength. And then maybe when I have more time, I can go out and do something for my countrymen, especially our poor fellow mothers struggling to survive.
I don't know yet, but for now I'll start with my own family, with myself. And I encourage you, too, to do the same, dear Loyal Reader. Our kids are growing up in a world on the brink of war. There's a lot of work to be done and we need to start doing the work now. God bless us all!
*photo by Nina Strahl from Unsplash