The failed coup in the US capital the other day shows us the fragility of democracy even at its global center. Forces that aim to put an end to it, both from within and outside of the halls of the US Capitol, have been frustrated in their attempt to thwart the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another. This was unprecedented, and somehow, it gives us the eerie feeling that it won’t be the last of this kind of disturbance in the democratic processes of the United States.
No one can now deny that we cannot take democracy for granted. It must be guarded zealously, and the social conditions that give rise to its destruction must be nipped in the bud at the earliest signs of emergence. This is what we have learned in the Philippines, recurrently, in the recent past, a lesson that we Filipinos seem so hard put to remember, so we keep on harking back and bringing to power agents of tyranny under the misguided notion that what we need is authoritarian “peace and order” and social purity, instead of diversity, tolerance and national solidarity.
We are a nation and a world of many persuasions, beliefs, struggles and paths to a future that we all dream about. Democracy is the only mode by which we can arrive to that future without losing our dignity as human beings and our freedoms as social beings. Tyrants, authoritarians and demagogues who say otherwise will want us to throw away our democracy, as they have almost succeeded in the US, and have succeeded several times in the Philippines.
That is why we fight, for every nation in this planet that loses its democracy is a light that is extinguished in the spreading darkness. And every democracy that is revived, soon hopefully including ours in the Philippines, brings courage and fills our hearts with faith in our shared humanity as a people and as a species.
(Access the handwritten version of Dispatch from Crame No. 1,014, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_1014)