Sunday, February 13, 2011

President Aquino’s quest for normalcy amidst stress and chaos

A daughter of a former president once described Malacanang Palace a “snake pit.” Journalist Raissa Robles in an article refers to the presidency’s “lonely isolation” despite the pomp and power that goes with it.

It is in Malacanang where rivals and factions constantly wage battle for the President’s attention and seek presidential favors. At the same time, it is the place where the fate of the nation and the plight of the people hang in the balance, and can be decided with just a single stroke of a pen.

I am a distant observer claiming no semblance of closeness with PNoy. Neither do I pretend to be an apologist for a particular behavior of his.

However, I do understand his occasional desire to get away from it all: the exhilaration of early morning drives to Tarlac in his Porsche by himself, the spontaneous need to chill out and to dine in a restaurant or to go “malling,” even to play video games with his nephews. If indeed, these reports were all true, these are signs of a normal human being impervious to the trappings of the most powerful position in the land. And not, as his critics say, the ways of a rich, spoiled brat.

It is the feeling of being free, of being anonymous, of being playful and child-like, even. It liberates him from the stuffy, showy and pretentious world of realpolitik; ironically, a world he did not actively seek initially but was unavoidably pushed to it in part by people’s discontent and in part by destiny.

Known as an introvert, PNoy listens more than he talks. He must be processing his thoughts internally. He must be considering the consequences of any decision that he makes seriously. Seemingly trapped in a gilded cage, surrounded by noisy sycophants and lobbyists, with the enormous and tremendous pressure of steering the country’s history in the right course, the quest to be alone heightens and becomes more evident.

Thus, unless and until signs are showing that he loses the sense of normalcy of an ordinary human being (i.e., when he becomes involved in corruption like his predecessors, when he suppresses basic human rights, when he ignores the rule of law and foments injustice), it behooves that we, the citizenry, ought to leave him alone. For then, he must be doing something right.

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