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Blunt Reckonings

Historical Parallels and Intersections

Posted by C. Stan Asumen, Jr on December 9, 2015 at 5:05 PM

12 Historical Parallels and Intersections


Should lessons gleaned from History provide

Due faith and courage for your future course,

Be best prepared to emulate with pride

The brave defenders of your sacred shores.

Allow not blunt your own awakening

By rhetoric that politicians use

To thwart your conscience into weakening

The selfsame vehemence of vengeance's cause,

The which would break the fetters of your soul

And tear the mask of shameless tyranny.

Default's the cross of falsehood bearing all

Unreason for your seeming destiny

To drown, in surfeit, bliss of ignorance,

To crown, in glory, sweet irrelevance!!

The above sonnet was second in a series of eight (plus a quatrain, the vestigial relic of a failed attempt at a ninth in the series) Patriotic Sonnets which I penned in one night, to quench the fire of anguish in my soul. The experience absolutely astonished me because it usually takes me a few days, even weeks or months, to finish one sonnet. I simply accepted it gratefully that poetry provided a healthy channel through which I could creatively vent the turmoil boiling to explosive proportions in the depths of my being.

The occasion was the culmination of the so-called People-Power Revolution in the Philippines which resulted in the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos who ended up exiled in Hawaii and the ascendancy of Corazon Aquino to the presidency. Marking the end of fourteen years of the Marcos martial law, it could have been an ample cause for celebration. For me however, whose career trajectory has been drastically altered by kindred forces of persuasion as produced that revolution, the irony was poignantly delicious.

Twelve years earlier, I managed to become a persona non grata to the Philippine government. Thus, from the perspective of a person without a country, which was my immigration status then, several days of monitoring from afar the events on the streets of Metro Manila was, to put it mildly, hugely devastating. The anguish mainly stemmed from my inability to even become an eyewitness to the unfolding of history in which I very much yearned to have played an active role.

Overwhelmed by the emotion of that period, I filed the episode in the innermost recesses of my reverie under the heading “missed opportunities.” Never in my wildest dreams and nightmarish hallucinations did I imagine that the same sentiment could, roughly a generation later, equally and even more appropriately apply to the results of the Presidential Elections in this good old U.S. of A.


The Ironical Parallel

In physics (or mathematical physics, if you are a stickler for labels) a vector entity consists of magnitude and direction; direction has the added component of sense, e.g., clockwise or counter-clockwise, leftward or rightward, etc. The elements of momentum are conceived as mass and velocity and the elements of velocity are speed and direction. Vectors are construed to be parallel if they do not intersect at any conceivable extension, through the end of space and time.

In politics momentum is traditionally conceived to be the gathering of mass, trending towards victory. Somehow the notion of sense (as used in mathematics) is conveniently omitted in the reckoning. Leftward or rightward is deemed of little consequence. The only thing that matters is victory. Here, in a nutshell, lurks the irony in the parallel tales of two elections.

The events in the Philippines, in the spring of 1986, promised the end of tyranny and portended the resumption of civil discourse as an indispensible component of governance, hopefully, ushering in a healthier flourishing of democracy and nurturing of individual liberty.

In the United States, in the autumn of 2008, the Presidential election was decided on the hoopla of hope and change drenched in hyperbolic rhetoric which effectively drowned journalistic decorum to maintain any pretence at integrity. It put the Oval Office decisively lurching into a monopoly of power without any effective constraints in place. In short, the seeds of tyranny were safely and decisively planted.

The jury is still out whether or not the 1986 Philippine Spring succeeded in vanquishing tyranny to nurture expanding liberty. The leading indicators point to a political governance being still in the clutches of a ruling oligarchy, whose grandiose schemes still exclude, by default, the folks in the rural provinces. As for the 2008 American Autumn, the indications are not very encouraging.

To borrow the compelling formulation of R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.,

”We are at that delicious moment in a modern Democratic presidential administration when the bizarre fantasticos who decorate each chaotic regime make their painful appearance — though this administration is bringing a whiff of the ominous.”

Ominous is the operative word. The sweeping implementation of the Obama agenda represents precisely the flourishing of a flawed vision for this nation. It leads us, irreversibly onto the slippery slope of tyranny, in the manner prescribed for by Saul Alinsky of “Manual for Radicals” notoriety. This is beyond scary. It is downright outrageous.

A case in point is the decision to give Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) a civilian court trial. This has the practical effect of handing over the entire U.S. judicial system to the enemy for their use as a propaganda forum. Factor in the fact that the only lawyers, eager willing and able to undertake the defense of KSM are the ones with predominantly anti-American ideological leanings, it is tantamount to putting America herself on trial by the al-Qaeda thugs, as orchestrated by their leftist defense lawyers.

In the economic front, “The Halcyon Days of Yore” has become an appropriate moniker for the Carter Administration. This is Obama's first significant legacy in history: the much vaunted change and hope promised, ad nauseam, in the campaign produced a change which is most definitely a prelude to unmitigated disaster. Let me illustrate it in personal terms:


The other day, I received a notice from my credit card provider that my finance charges rate has been changed to 29% APR. Before this the highest I have ever paid for credit card interest was 24% during the halcyon days of James Earl Carter. Worse yet, the Obama agenda are designed to deliberately transform this nation of doers and achievers into a nation of hopers and takers. Poor Ben Franklin, he could be agonizingly squirming in his grave.

The Ironic Intersection

At the time of this writing, the POTUS is in Asia and the Far East. The buzz in the airwaves is that the undisclosed mission is to persuade the Chinese government to sustain its commitments for the ongoing purchase of Preferred U.S.Treasury Bonds. This is the only way to underwrite the Obama agenda. Debt, perhaps supplemented by the printing press, has become the lifeblood of Obama’s America.

This brings me to the eighth in the series of the 1986 Patriotic Sonnets to be so deliciously appropriate:


Beyond reform is your predicament,

It's time you venture forth a better way!

Nor tears of bitterness, nor mute lament

Can free you from your own captivity!

That captors are your very native sons

Is but insult added to injury

And no excuse for patient tolerance

Nor cause to languish in your misery.

With debtors' need false leaders agonize,

For credits, they may make your people bleed;

Bleeding, you may yet seek to galvanize

To life true leaders of a nobler breed:

By visionary men are nations built

Thy lack of vision is this nation's guilt!!



The irony is portentously uncanny. Nostradamus himself could not have predicted this embarrassingly unbecoming alignment of the stars. Only three generations ago, the Philippines was under American tutelage on nationhood and Jeffersonian democratic governance, nurtured by the potent combination of Monroe’s Doctrine and George Dewey’s guns.

It took less than a year of the messianic genius of the transformative, transcendent Barack Hussein Obama to align the stars and galvanize the tides so as the Philippine-American karma would intersect in debt and indebtedness. The former an ex-colony, the latter the former’s ex-colonizer, now the twin are quasi equal partners in misery.

If I were not a red-blooded American, and if this were not my America too, this intersection would have been the ultimate schadenfreude of hyperbolic proportions. Poor Ben Franklin, what could he possibly be doing in his grave?!


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1 Comment

Reply C. Stan Asumen, Jr
5:23 PM on December 9, 2015 
This first appeared in the internet as an article on the It was reprinted in print as Chapter 12, pp. 213 ~ 218 of my last book, "Flirting with Misadventures, etc." ~