One of the important things to note as we study history is to learn from the experiences of historical figures from the past.
It’s either you emulate them — like how students are encouraged to imitate the likes of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio — or you try to refrain from repeating the mistakes that some of them did – like how Rizal somehow exaggerated some of his claims in his annotation of the Morga.
Nevertheless, what matters most is that we learn something significant or relevant from history and apply it to the present.
One of the problems we face today in our country is the narrow-minded view that the citizens should always support the government, no matter what. No questions asked, and as much as possible, we should criticize less and support more. To those myopic followers, that is how we should be able to “give back” and support our government through thick and thin.
Undoubtedly, this kind of mindset is present among many Filipinos, especially those who are blindly loyal to certain politicians. Their loyalty is akin to fanaticism, believing that the person they voted for could not, and would not, commit any mistake, or that their leader is infallible.
As a result, this leads to their predilection towards media that is sycophantic towards the government. And I must say this is dangerous because having even only one media outlet that would constantly praise the government would hinder the truth from coming out.
It would also enable government officials, when no one is calling them out anymore, to continue with their flagitious deeds or corrupt practices.
When ABS-CBN was shut down for questionable reasons, these same closed-minded individuals were the ones who celebrated the media outlet’s demise. These same individuals were the ones who called mainstream media, cliché as that term may sound, as “biased” during the Duterte administration simply because of its coverage against the extrajudicial killings.
No wonder that these same individuals gravitated towards the current president during his campaign as his slogan of “unity” somehow tickled their fragile and gullible minds.
These supporters also consider, if quite pathetically, the Martial Law era of BBM’s father as the “golden age” of Philippine history. They believe that during that period, there was unity among the Filipinos, and discipline – which we do not have at present.
However, when we try to ask their sources for this view, they would almost invariably refer to social media posts from Facebook, YouTube, or TikTok, which are not definitive sources of history.
They do not take into account the fact that during the Martial Law era, the first thing that Marcos Sr. did was to curtail press freedom by ordering the closure of all major newspapers and broadcast stations, including foreign news outlets.
Some journalists were arrested thereafter, since, apparently, all these actions were done as a form of vendetta by the Dictator, as most of the members of the press were critical against him. His reason, however, was that those arrested were part of a conspiracy against him.
Even until now, there are no sufficient evidences to support that claim.
If these same supporters lived during the Martial Law era, I can only infer they would be the same ones cheering for the arrest of some media personalities, and the shutdown of media outlets that were antithetical towards the government.
These same supporters would then blindly consume the lies that are spread by government-sponsored media, and consider them as the indubitable truth.
In hindsight, I would also infer that these individuals — had they lived during the latter years of the Spanish colonial period — would have been sycophantic towards the Spanish colonial government. And they would have also been the first ones to call out the La Solidaridad or the Propaganda Movement of Rizal, Luna, and the rest who were, in essence, “anti-government” for the end-goal of advocating for reforms.
We must always remember there is nothing wrong in calling out the mistakes of the government. Doing so, and advocating for reforms — or activism, as they say — is not synonymous to being a “bad” and “disloyal” citizen.
A bad citizen, however, is someone who enables corrupt officials to continue with their misdeeds just because he has this false belief in supporting the government through and through.
So please, try not to be a myopic follower; always hold government accountable for their actions. Positive change and reforms will never be achieved in our government if Filipinos continue to have this misplaced sense of loyalty.
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