by Jupiter Cabig Jr.
All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…
Erving Goffman, an important sociologist whose prime theory (demonstrated by the dramaturgical model) relates directly to the self, has made the excerpt above famous.
But, now that Senator Tito Sotto has been given much legislative power, the excerpt deserves more attention while most Filipinos watch the country’s political arena turn into a theatrical space.
Goffman’s theory basically adheres to impression management and the strategic presentation of oneself in front of a familiar crowd. He further believes that one’s life is a series of performances where one gets the attention, criticism, and impression from the audience.
In this case, the political world is also situated within the bounds of the theory’s context where politicians must act in accordance to what the public demand from them; just like how norms and societal standards have shaped one’s behaviors, thoughts and responses.
In the Philippines, the political theater has never failed its audience to feel the thrill, awe, surprise and plenty reactions of dismay.
Confronted with numerous drama, it was never a surprise for someone like Tito Sotto to replace a crucial position as the new Senate President.
It is known that he has proven a spot in both the Senate and Congress as majority floor leader, minority floor leader and was appointed as chairman of various Senate Committees.
The official website of the Senate even remarked the prominence of Sotto which stated: “Perhaps it is only Senator Vicente C. Sotto III among the present crop of senators who can seamlessly switch from one career to another–being an accomplished public servant, lawmaker, sportsman, and artist in his own right.”
However, his seeming-perfect resume will never justify his misogynistic remarks, unsolved rape case, plagiarized public speech, patriarchal exuberance, and oversimplification of crucial issues through his own layman’s terminologies and statements.
Of course, no person is free from flaws and frailties. But, politicians, granted with power and responsibility to serve the public, must abide with decency, prudence, and integrity. Words like “Na ano lang”, “Bayang Magiliw”, “Kababae mong tao?!” and many others.
Someone who graduated from the University of Life and Experience will never make any difference in the issues that we are confronted such as the plight of the poor with the drastic price increase of commodities, struggles of the farmers to own lands, oppression of journalists, and other injustices proliferated by EJK, fake news from prime institutions and authorities, and robbery of ancestral domains (including a lot more).
What we need to observe from what is currently happening in the country is the increase of political dramas that drown the pertinent issues that confront us.
When Mocha Uson spread the fake news about Mt. Mayon, the TRAIN law, Charter Change and other matters of the state are rolling in the Senate.
Political dramas are distracting the masses to be focused and become critical to the recent cases of new laws and provisions which supposedly need public attention and scrutiny.
Putting Senator Tito Sotto as the new Senate President, now holding much political influence, is just one of the surprises that this government has set for us.
The recount of votes pushing forward Bongbong Marcos as the new Vice President, debatable Supreme Court decision of CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno, questionable termination of various Department Secretaries who are deemed fit for their job, the unending cold war between Trillanes and other government officials, and many more to land on our televisions and newspapers are sidetracking our eyes.
This has been a government equipped with strategies of deception and diversion – two dangers that will lead to the fall of our democracy and freedom. A saying from Frank Herbert about dying democracies endures in this era which says:
“Democracy is susceptible to being led astray by having scapegoats paraded in front of the electorate. Get the rich, the greedy, the criminals, the stupid leader and so on ad nauseum.” (davaotoday.com)
Jupiter Cabig Jr. is a fourth year AB Psychology student of Ateneo de Davao University and a former Editor-in-chief of Atenews.