No su­per-team in the House

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -


HE speak­er­ship race is go­ing the di­rec­tion of the NBA Golden State War­riors. Apolo­gies to War­riors’ fans for this anal­ogy. But this is what I can ex­plain of what is hap­pen­ing in the House.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion coali­tion can be likened to that su­per-team that may have se­cured the crown, but is hard put to keep every­one happy.

Right now, five Con­gress­men in the coali­tion want to be the top dog, or top guy in the House. That’s Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Alan Peter Cayetano, Martin Ro­mualdez, Lord Al­lan Ve­lasco, Paolo Duterte and Isidro Ungab.

Now, you can’t play bas­ket­ball when all five on the court want the ball to shoot. Some­one has to give, pass, or screen. But last we heard, not every­one wants to share. The team is still try­ing to fig­ure out how to make this work.

Per­haps, this sce­nario is more like a Lak­ers’ sce­nario. Sorry this time to Lak­ers’ fans. Here is a team with great stars, great hype of con­tin­u­ing a dy­nasty. While they look strong on paper, they don’t have the solid pieces, and not every­one is jump­ing on board.

Pol­i­tics here is like play­ing bas­ket­ball, or to be spe­cific, a su­per-team bas­ket­ball. The way Con­gress­men and Se­na­tors jump to the strong­est team, lured by prom­ises of pet projects, pet bills, and deep pock­ets, they be­lieve in that fa­mil­iar motto: Strength in numbers, if we’re talk­ing about the same idea of strength.

But this con­cept of su­per-team misses the point of bas­ket­ball, and pol­i­tics, that this is all about shar­ing the ball, spot­ting the open team­mate for op­por­tu­ni­ties, play­ing for a com­mon goal, and do­ing it with shared joy.

The su­per-team lost in the cham­pi­onship last June when its top pieces fell down. Su­per as they are, they lost to a bet­ter team called the Rap­tors who played self­less solid bas­ket­ball, who only had one ex­cep­tional su­per­star who acts not like a star, but like a work­horse do­ing his talk­ing on court.

That’s the team, and the star we should root for, and if we like un­der­dogs, there’s the Mak­abayan coali­tion. Left­ist as they are, they do their talk­ing on the court.

Even as they en­dorsed their own, Bayan Muna Rep. Atty. Car­los Zarate, for the Speak­er­ship post, they still con­ducted their busi­ness in the House last July 1, fil­ing around 50 bills con­cern­ing in­crease in salaries for teach­ers, gov­ern­ment work­ers, re­peal­ing the tax schemes un­der TRAIN Law, pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, giv­ing more ser­vices for ed­u­ca­tion and health.

That’s how pol­i­tics should be. Like bas­ket­ball, there’s no “I”, just “we” and mak­ing plays that mat­ter.* I

VACILLATED quite a bit about stay­ing si­lent or writ­ing at length about some­thing that’s been on my mind for a while now. I don’t in­tend to run for of­fice but I don’t re­ally want to alien­ate my­self from the ma­jor­ity. Yes, sadly, the seis­mic shift in de­mog­ra­phy has ren­dered me part of the mi­nor­ity.

But then I thought, I’ve lived most of my life as an out­lier so what’s one more out­ly­ing opin­ion, any­way.

When I was grow­ing up, the term “generation gap” was largely used by my par­ents to de­scribe how their generation and mine vastly dif­fered in views and opin­ions about al­most ev­ery­thing.

My par­ents be­longed to the age clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Tra­di­tion­al­ists (born 1945 and be­fore). I, on the other hand, am a baby boomer (born be­tween 1944 and 1964).

It was very hard then for my par­ents and I to bridge the con­ti­nen­tal di­vide be­tween our thoughts and views. To­day, at 55, I see ev­ery­thing with greater clar­ity.

Hav­ing been born at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation, I have al­ways found my­self to be some­what of a cross be­tween Baby Boomers (born be­tween 1944 and 1964) and Generation X (born be­tween 1965 and 1976) in thought and deed.

Suf­fice it to say that while I am not a bea­con of pa­tience, I am a ra­bid fan of dili­gence. And while I cannot say that I em­brace tra­di­tion, I have great re­spect for the old and en­dur­ing mu­seum pieces, in­clud­ing those in hu­man form.

I ad­mit I scoff at the lazy, cocky, rest­less, self­ab­sorbed and en­ti­tled. I ad­mit I roll my eyes at those who be­lieve they de­serve sky-high salaries yet display a galling min­i­mum-wage work ethic. I ad­mit I view with great de­ri­sion those who read­ily quit when the go­ing gets tough.

I’m not say­ing I’m right in view­ing with con­tempt those who do not share my val­ues and work ethic but this is where I’m com­ing from.

I come from a generation schooled in the val­ues of dis­ci­pline, ded­i­ca­tion and de­ter­mi­na­tion. I be­long to a generation who ad­heres to the phi­los­o­phy of putting in ef­fort, en­ergy and an en­dur­ing at­ti­tude to achieve one’s goals in life. I come from a generation who be­lieves in paying our dues to ar­rive at a place wor­thy of re­spect.

We don’t look to short-term benefits. We look to long-term re­wards. We put se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity over and above quick ad­vance­ment and mon­e­tary wind­falls. We be­lieve in the value of de­layed rather than im­me­di­ate grat­i­fi­ca­tion. And per­haps, there lies the great di­vide.

I strive to un­der­stand mil­len­ni­als (born be­tween 1981 and 1996) but I ad­mit they try what lit­tle pa­tience I have. We have lit­tle in com­mon in the ways and means by which we achieve our goals. This re­sults in con­flict. These are the facts.

But let’s not stop here. I be­lieve the time and space for con­ver­sa­tion about our con­tentious di­vide has ar­rived.

Don’t hate me just yet. Or hate me more next week.*

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