Wednesday, October 24, 2007

nationalism vs. partisanship

A truly big and often fatal enemy of nationalism is political partisanship. This can be readily equated with partisan biases and prejudices, given political concerns and interests. While the principle of nationalism is basically to think, speak and act for the benefit and development of the country, the norm governing partisanship is primarily to consider, decide and move in favor of the advancement of the political party—over and above the public welfare, outside and beyond the common good.

Partisanship is a way of life of a political community. Political parties come and go in terms of the majority and the minority, the pro-administration and opposition party. As such, the political system is a blessing to a country when purely political issues are concerned, if simply partisan questions are raised. This reality is specially relevant to and significant for general advantage of the country when partisan politics serve by way of checks and balances in the resolution of secular matters.

There are however distinct and significant problems that should be responded to beyond partisan politics particularly when nothing less than the national present and future of a country are already at stake. This is specifically true when such questions already enter the sphere of ethics or the area of morals. Between lie and truth, integrity and corruption, honesty and thievery—these and similar social concerns should be responded to by adherence to basic principles of right living—not merely according to political partisan affiliation.

“My loyalty to my party ends when my fidelity to my Country begins.” This known pronouncement of a distinguished political leader says it candidly and well. The wanton disregard and repeated violation of the substance and implications of the admirable maxim are precisely the causal factors of profound division and dissent, the pervasive misery and poverty, the pitiful and critical situation now obtaining in the Philippines.

A concrete case in point is the serious issue of impeachment. The way partisan politics presently work in the country, any and all impeachable complaints are considered fully resolved merely by the count of hands raised in favor or against them. As of now, no impeachment complaint submitted to the Lower House of Congress would prosper no matter how meritorious it is in substance and how perfect it is in form. In other words, what is right or wrong, what is according or against the Fundamental Law of the Land, gets decided by sheer partisan politics.

Politics are not beyond the rule of good or evil, above the norm of what is virtuous or vicious. Politicians for that matter are neither exempted from the socio-moral mandate against lying, cheating and stealing. Thus is it that partisan politics still remain subordinate to the elementary principle of right over wrong, honor over profit, truth over injustice. In instances such as these, “crossing party lines” becomes in order. Otherwise, partisanship becomes a curse to nationalism.

24 October 2007