The danger for the Cordillera
We are getting brainwashed into the lowland culture of worshipping politicians. Perhaps, nothing is bad about that, if it is based on values or basically goodness as a person. Yet what appears to be emerging is more and more Cordillerans are awed by, rather envious, of those who could display money or its manifestations such as flashy clothes, jewelries, cars and houses. Isn’t that good as it might drive people to aim for material progress? Yes, if it were through honest and honorable ways.
The bad reality is a lot more of us are awed by money and its manifestations regardless of how it was earned. There appears to be no distinction anymore between money that was ill-gotten—through corruption or gangsterism and exploitation— and that which was obtained through honest effort and lawful industry or hard work.
The average people around literally drool whenever somebody passes by with a brand new flashy car. Sit in any conversation in a coffee shop or a bar and those with stolen money through corruption or by cheating others are described as very intelligent or are talked about with awe and admiration. There is nothing anymore of the derisive attitude or repulsive feeling elicited by the mere mention of notorious characters for having stolen or cheated a lot.
But there are such characters that are laughed at. It is those who had stolen small. More so if they got caught. “Stupid!” they would be called. The lesson is, big crime does pay.
Considered geniuses are those who had stolen or cheated big. With money, they could concoct a lot of ways to buy their way out.
And we have nurtured and carried on the attitude that it is okay to corrupt government funds, or to literally and crudely steal these.
Such attitudes might be the biggest stumbling blocks to clean up our society. It might be easier to crack down on corruption through honest to goodness prosecution efforts. But nothing of that sort can be sustained if the people in general are idolizing the cheat and the corrupt. Or if the few honest people around are considered stupid, for not making hay while the sun was shining or while in a position to safely steal.
This can cow the few who want to go against the trend, even those in government whose job is to clean up the ranks. Take the latest pronouncement of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission—less that 12 congressmen are involved in corruption. The lowliest person in the barangay strongly disagrees. It is like telling him, the sun rises from the west.
Our situation might be the effect of the failure of the church and other groups and institutions whose mission was to instill values or morality in society.**