Paranoid about 'unity'.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Manila Bulletin, July 25, 2002 | Go to article overview

Paranoid about 'unity'.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)


Byline: ADRIAN E. CRISTOBAL

When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.

- William Hazlitt

WHEN I see two warring factions getting together "in unity," I get very nervous. It's as if the Mafia families have decide to unite for a common purpose. That's why I get paranoid when our senators try to "iron out their differences" for the sake of the nation, on one hand, and family values, on the other. They are saying, of course, that a "united Senate" will be good for the country, since their present squabble have paralyzed the august body. I can't say, however, if a paralyzed Senate is all that bad for the country.

Seriously speaking, a Senate divided between a complacent majority and a vigorous minority usually means, as it did in the past, that senators will behave independently in case of an impasse. Lincoln once said that a house divided could not stand, but a divided Senate usually means the people are safe. Sooner or later, however, "defections," now redefined as "migrations" (as if political groupings are foreign to one another) will come about, thus affecting the balance between factions. That deprives the citizenry a choice between bad and worse, which is, nevertheless, a choice.

A united Senate would mean, first of all, the smooth passage of legislation that's not quite acceptable to everyone, such as allowing overseas workers to vote from their place of work. As it is, votes from near Manila and the remotest barrios get lost, tampered, or miscounted before they get to the Commission on Elections, and even when they're already there. …

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