UPHOLDING THE TRUTH

Finding the truth is one thing. It requires tenacity and a determination to have what can be verified in the real world.

Speaking the truth requires a bit more. It will require a certain amount of courage and strength of conviction for often, those who speak the truth are the focus of much resistance, mostly from those who fear not that “the truth will set them free” but that the truth will send them to jail.

And then there is…UPHOLDING THE TRUTH.

 

As one who cut his teeth in marketing and advertising communications, I have always understood “upholding the truth” to have the additional burden of MAKING THE TRUTH COMPELLING AND PERSUASIVE.

(The Parable of The Copywriter in Central Park)

By the simple juxtaposition of two facts, the man’s blindness and the blossoming of Spring, the truth of people’s indifference to the suffering of others became a compelling and irresistible message.

When we speak of upholding the truth, we accept the obligation not only to speak but to speak well. Well enough to PERSUADE people to believe that truth and, ultimately, TO ACT ON THAT TRUTH.

History is full of examples of how compelling and persuasive language, carefully and forcefully delivered has driven change. In America, the civil liberties movement had long languished as an on again, off again crusade until Martin Luther King upheld the truth that all men yearn to be free with his historic and moving peroration that began with “I had a dream!”

The assassination of Ninoy Aquino started a series of events that simmered to a boil with the truth that Filipinos had been feeling helpless and victimized by an oppressive regime and only needed a reassurance that millions of others were feeling the same with ” Hindi ka nag-iisa.”

In 2010, the emotional tidal wave that came with the death of democracy icon and mother, Cory Aquino, sounded the truth that the country was finally fed up with corruption in public service and longed for a time of transparency and good governance. A truth made compelling and actionable when people were asked to make a simple choice between “Daan na baluktot o Daang Matuwid”.

Yes. To uphold the truth is to choose the words and symbols that give it power. For, in real life, the truth DOES NOT SELL ITSELF. In fact, very often, the truth can be defeated by malevolent and dark forces that are just as determined to uphold a lie — finding it’s most destructive form in today’s fake news syndrome. The challenge to uphold the truth is made even more urgent because it is far easier to make falsehoods more compelling. Not hampered by accuracy and factual bases, those who seek to propagate what is fake, what is untrue,have much wider options to excite and seize the imagination of a vulnerable public. That is why an actively exaggerated drug menace can become so scary, so seemingly insurmountable that only the mailed fist of an authoritarian leader can solve the problem. The spectre of terrorism can be made to look so imminent that we would be willing to give up our freedom in exchange for a little peace and security.

Too many get frustrated with the seeming weakness of mind and spirit of the Filipino people. Why have they given nearly absolute power to one man — again?!Why, after the undeniable damage that dictatorship had wrought during the Marcos regime has the Filipino fallen for a strongman once more? The answer is so simple as to be almost unconvincing:

DEMOCRACY SUCKS.

Democracy means change comes slowly. Very slowly. For the very same ideology that fosters individual freedom and rights allows the powerful and the wealthy to perpetuate the status quo.

Democracy means days and days of consultation, disagreement and conflict. It is a system that allows all to be heard — including those whose intentions are suspect and whose views are shallow and uninformed.

Democracy means submission to the will of a majority and protection for the minority.

Democracy means openness to public scrutiny and criticism.

DEMOCRACY IS DIFFICULT TO LIVE WITH BECAUSE IT NEEDS THE CONSTANT VIGILANCE AND PARTICIPATION OF CITIZENS FOR IT TO WORK.

It is,therfore, no wonder that we are tempted to embrace a dictator. In the final analysis, this failing is not sufficiently explained by saying that we are so easy to barter away our freedom. The painful truth is that we are UNWILLING TO WORK FOR OUR FREEDOM. Thanks to the ruthless and callous ways of capital and wealth, we believe that it is money that buys our opportunities; our liberties; our happiness. FREEDOM IS FOR THE RICH and THE EDUCATED.

Winston Churchill once famously said that “Democracy is the worst system in the world – except when compared to all the others.”

He could just as easily have said that Democracy sucks but boy does it scare the daylights out of dictators and oligarchs.

Yes, Democracy sucks because it is a truth that cannot sell itself. It is the truth that we have to work extra hard to uphold, to dramatize, to make persuasive.

Let us work together to make democracy the compelling offer our countrymen cannot refuse.
This is our task…nay, our obligation.

For it is Spring and we are NOT blind.

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