No, this is not a Martin Luther King “I Have Dream” write up. This one is about a Rapid-Eye-Movement moment, that portion of life when our body is at its most quiet but our minds are in an excited state of activity.
Perhaps owing to the stress and fatigue of a very active schedule these past days, I fell asleep early last night, which is a very rare occurrence. I was out by 9:00PM, as testified by my wife and that meant that she had to endure longer hours of my snoring.
I needed the rest. Not only for my tired body but more so for my restless mind. So many things to think about, all competing for attention. Work related or personal, these thoughts occupy my conscious mind and it is only during sleep that they settle down and make way for rest.
But last night, my sleep was made colorful by the dream I had. I dreamt that I was a TV Show Host. Yes, I agree that many politicians have that dream and actually try to squeeze themselves in as a broadcast personality. That’s not a dream that I have, but it was a dream I had last night.
I dreamt that I was a host in a TV show. No, not the variety show type where they give out tons of money to people they cajole into doing foolish stunts with scantily clad women grinding their hips in the background. Neither is it the early morning magazine show where the hosts seem to be overdosed with caffeine in order to be perky so early in the morning. And neither were there pretty co-hosts. My wife wouldn’t want that. (Sorry, dear!)
Being a public official, the show was a public affairs show, the one that usually draws yawns or expletives from the public, depending on the topic. And the guest. Or the host. Anyway….
Since it is nearing the elections and everyone seems to be geared towards being part of the change that will happen, the show was a leadership forum starring the Presidentiables.
As I type this blog entry in Microsoft Word, the Spellcheck places a red line under the word “presidentiable”, indicating an error in spelling or an unrecognizable English word. So I check the word, curious as to the official existence of the word “presidentiable”.
I googled it and almost all of the sites listed were Pinoy sites. But one non-Pinoy site, entitled DOUBLE-TONGUE DICTIONARY: A Lexicon of Fringe English Focusing on Slang, Jargon and New Words had this to say –“The noun form of the word probably separately derived in France and the Philippines from the adjective presidentiable ‘capable of being president.’ Such an adjective-to-noun conversion is more common in French and Spanish (from where the word was introduced into the Philippines) than it is in English. A similar word is papabile ‘suitable to be Pope.’”
Well, add this to their dictionary : “Papable”, meaning “suitable to be your papa”.
Going back to the show….
So I was a host in a Leadership Forum show with the Presidentiables. I guess I was not chosen for my good looks (ahem!) but for being someone who is in politics and public office and is familiar with the workings of government and the intricacies of politics.
In other words, the message to the guests was “don’t bull***t the host, he knows the inside story”.
Well, in the dream, the show was pretty well publicized and all the guests confirmed their attendance, unlike in real life where some prefer to hide behind the screen of absence following the principle of No Talk, No Mistakes.
Some have said that if public affairs TV had been around during the time of US President Dwight Eisenhower, he wouldn’t have been president, owing to his physical condition which required him to use a wheelchair. It appears that some presidentiables are following that tact, avoiding public appearance unless it is under their control, not to hide any physical condition but probably some other form of disability.
Back to the program….well, the guests were all seated and the nation tuned in. Final touches on make up were done. Adjustments to the lighting were made and some of the guests were reading notes while another was clearing his throat. Another was wondering “is this my good angle or should I shift in my seat?”. Still another presidentiable kept a smile pasted on, and it was quite obvious that the presidentiable was faking it because the facial muscles were starting to quiver.
“Quiet on the set!” yelled the floor director.
“We’re going on 5..4..” then silently makes the final countdown with his fingers “3..2..1..”
No, it wasn't someone who though I was "papable". It was my son waking me up to ask for his allowance. It is a school day and as part of our Standard Operating Procedure in our home, I wake up early just to have breakfast with the kids and send them off to school. It is always such a treat to start the day with my kids, who give me the reason to care for this country and the nation’s youth.
I have four boys aged 18, 9, 6 and 3. My dream is for them to finish their studies, be productive members of society, have a family of their own and be content with whatever God gives them.
Back to the dream I had last night…well, I never was able to see how I performed as a TV host. I never got to ask the questions I was supposed to ask. And I never found out if I would be offered a regular hosting slot in any of the networks.
Well, I do have the questions in my mind. And that’s why I’m writing this. I would like to throw those questions to the presidentiables. I may not have a TV show to do it, but maybe through cyberspace the questions will go out and somehow get answered.
If I were a host in a forum for presidentiables, I would ask them these questions:
- Is your campaign reflective of what you really are as a person or is it just presented the way you or your public relations analysts think will capture the attention of the public?
- If you win, will you treat Congress, especially the House of Representatives, as the independent and co-equal branch of government that it should be or will you use your position to influence who the Senate President, the Speaker of the House and the chairmen of the various committees will be?
- Will you use the pork barrel as leverage on the legislators? Will you use your position to influence how legislators vote on an issue ?
- Do you agree to the usual statements of Presidential appointees who say “I serve only at the pleasure of the President” and tolerate them or will you imbibe in your appointees that their accountability is to the people who may call for their resignation any time?
- Will you allow horse trading in the Commission on Appointments?
These are but some of the questions that I would like to hear form the presidentiables, aside from the usual queries that have been asked in the past. I have never heard any of these questions in past forums so I am at a loss as to how any of those seeking the presidency think about these issues.
Well, my dream was interrupted (although I very much welcome the interruption) so I never got the chance to hear the responses which could have been dream responses or nightmare answers themselves. But I hope that by putting these questions out in cyberspace, we could all get a response from those seeking the highest post in the land.
After all, they should all be online now. If they’re not, then it only means they are dinosaurs and deserve to be overlooked by this highly connected generation.