02138: Why Do We Seek Discipline From Leaders?

In a move that really shouldn't have surprised anyone, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago selected Sen. Bongbong Marcos as her VP for her presidential campaign. Social media is afire with various reactions that both attempt to exonerate or vilify her and her choice of running-mate. I'd rather not wade into that swamp of public opinion - after all, I'm the ironically jaded idealistic voter who continues to choose to consciously abstain from Philippine elections until I find a candidate that I can actually believe in, and thus people generally feel my opinion does not matter.

I'll give you all a moment to consider that and stop reading further.

Welcome back. Not sure why you're still reading, but here we go.

What interests me most about the pre-campaign season thus far is the sort of trends we see in terms of the reason why people desire certain candidates. There's a common thread between folks like Santiago, Duterte and even Marcos - a clamor for a firm hand to guide the nation since we're some sort of rabble in dire need of discipline. We dislike Binay because he is "known" to be corrupt (however we've yet to prove this in a court of law), but are willing to forgive the son of a dictator and a man who has boasted of his approval of extrajudicial killings (yet have not proven connection to said killings in a court of law) because for some reason the abstract concept of the Filipino people (which never seems to include the speaker) needs to be disciplined.

Why do we seek such "control" and enforced order from our candidates for the Executive branch of government? Why must someone "else" discipline the country instead of us seeking to learn to discipline ourselves? The ridiculously large deployment of police officers on EDSA every morning is a clear indicator that we still need more stick than carrot when it comes to finding a reason to follow even the most basic of laws. Why should one figure magically change things to make people more in-tune with what they need to be doing anyway?

It feels like a weird shift of blame and responsibility to expect the President of the country to magically sweep away all problems, including those that we as a people end up causing ourselves? If anything, the President is one of the weakest members of government given the fact he or she only serves a single 6 year term. 6 years is not a lot of time to make lasting change, especially when you have entrenched senators and congressmen who get to serve multiple terms without issue. The president can certainly try to get things done, but this won't always happen, especially should Congress or the Senate be controlled by whichever mixed up faction of political parties finally identifies as the opposition to the administration.

Change begins with us. If we can discipline ourselves to follow the law as best as we can, then we'd never need some fairy god leader to make us do it instead. And then we wouldn't feel the need to have despots for leaders. Seriously, are people actively trying to turn this country back into a dictatorship for some reason?