Dignified speech: An election issue

By: Editorial December 09,2018 - 09:33 PM

How dignified will public discourse be as we draw nearer to the elections in May 2019?

If our conversations become less charitable than ever, it will be in many ways due to the unwillingness of President Rodrigo Duterte, campaigner for social change, to outgrow his verbal violence.

As has been repeated often by critics, the presidency comes with a power to teach such that the words and actions of a president may for a time legitimize similar behavior and speech.

Of late, Duterte has taken to calling for the decapitation of bishops and to saying in jest that he, self-proclaimed terror of illegal drugs uses marijuana to keep himself awake.

He has since stated that those who believed the latter assertion were stupid, incapable of telling when he is joking and when he is serious.

The joke, however, is a show of imprudence. It makes light of that defect whereby our nation’s justice system seems powerless before the massacre of the poor and preservation of the powerful rich in the so-called war against drugs.

Meanwhile, we hope that Duterte’s demagoguery against the bishops will not prompt any copycat to the knights of the English King Henry who were prompted by his word to slay Saint Thomas Becket while he was offering Mass.

There is already too much violence in our streets. Our officials, including candidates for election do no service when they inject bitterness and violence into their pronouncements, serious or otherwise.

We call for an end to the absence of refinement, decorum, and good will in political utterances, be it senatorial candidate Ronald de la Rosa’s inhumane propaganda for the restoration of the death penalty or Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s and his camp’s acts of character assassination in labeling rivals as “Team Suyop” or the drug-using team.

In a time of longing for an end to killings, real or symbolic, a time of struggle to survive amid rising prices, leaders appear out of touch when they reduce matters of life and death to cheap tools of life-threatening rhetoric.

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TAGS: Dignified, election, issue, speech

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