A matter of certainty

Focus May 31-19

A matter of certainty

Occidental Negros Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. advised candidates who lost in the May 13 elections to save their money and prepare for 2022. Three years, he said, is not that far off.

A wizened politician who is completing his final term, the governor raised a practical point. As I wrote earlier, that strategy against a strong enemy is to take one step backwards but two steps forward. When the enemy attacks, retreat; when the enemy pauses, attack.”

There are several election protests here in Negros and in other places that most people believe are futile. On the other hand, there is something more than the protest itself that history of the world had proven to be vital in the attainment of justice or the clarification of what is unclear. It is a need for certainty.

Defeatism has never brought democracy to the world and acquiescence to whatever the rest say is correct has never improved the lot of mankind. It is protest to the point of giving one’s life that has brought mankind to its present state of Christian civilization, political democracy and rule of law.

French philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre wrote, “A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.” Indeed, many supposedly lost battles had been won because the fighters refuse to give up. I think that those who have filed election protests have this in mind – to be certain they lost. They do not think they lost and want to prove it. They know the odds but if anything at all would come out of their protest, it is the fact that they refuse to keep silent against what they believe was unjust.

Ulrike Meinhof, founder of the fanatical Red Army might be a far left radical but she was right when she said, “Protest is when I say I don’t like this. Resistance is when I put an end to what I don’t like. Protest is when I say I refuse to go along with this anymore. Resistance is when I make sure everybody else stops going along too.”

And so with those who filed the protest in the election. They did not like what happened and they refused to remain silent and just prepare for the next round. It is to point out the problem this early so corrective measures, whatever they would be, can be made now and that the same unfairness or treachery, will not happen again.

Indeed, as Albert Einstein, a theoretical physicist who revolutionized the world with his theory of relativity, claimed he has the stubbornness of a mule. He said, “If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.”  His stubbornness to continue despite the odds against him (including from critics in his own field) eventually led him to be the greatest scientist of the 20th century and beyond.

The election protest is not mere amor propio as most consider it but it has its points, at least in not being complicit in what one firmly believes was a fraudulent election. We must see the protest not from our own eyes alone or our perceived reality but from theirs. We do not have all the facts but they probably have to the point that they are willing to take the hard and expensive road to express their conviction.

“To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men”, says Ella Wheeler Wilcox, an American author and poet of the 20th century. She is not so well known but her Poems of Passion and Solitude, contains the very popular lines, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone”. The losers so far weep alone.


Mahatma Gandhi who liberated his country India from British rule using his principle of non-violent protest, echoed the same sentiment: “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” 

American novelist and Nobel Prize winner, William Faulkner, said similarly, “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.” His novel, Sound and Fury, shows that life is a lot of sound and fury about a lot of things, but in the end, “they endured.” 

So will those who seek the truth.*