THREE days before President Duterte, in office for less than one month, was to describe the state of his nation to the nation, Donald Trump was officially nominated as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate. Not a few Filipinos have been calling Mr. Trump the American Duterte.
Principally because the two men speak the language of action, which is expressed by a vocabulary of short simple words – vocabulary not being one of those words – but they both also appear to eschew the language of political correctness. The Donald’s acceptance speech was long, but it was peppered with sharp, strong words on which he has built his promise to make America “safe again. . . rich again. . . great again.” How can you go wrong with easy words such as those?
Even before President Digong could tell us what was in his SONA speech, his communications secretary had jumped the gun by describing it as an address that had made him cry, in the process reminding us how hours after Digong had won the election, he cried like a baby at the tomb of his parents. Why does the sight of a man crying make a woman smile?
For men and women alike, the words that matter are monosyllabic. Live, Die, Love, Kill, Yes, No, I, You, Cry, Laugh, Pray. Masculine men write like Hemingway. Sensitive men like Mahatma Gandhi say things like “Small is beautiful.”
Taking a cue from Gandhi, simple is beautiful. Why did it take us so long to teach government officials that they do not deserve, not every one of them anyway, to be addressed as “Honorable”? The cheek of the cheapest, most useless potentates in local government, the national government, and the halls of Congress to inscribe their names in bronze and identify themselves as Hon. So-and-So when they are not! Honorable, because they move around with bodyguards armed to the teeth? Pompous and puffy in their suits, they savor the spelling and pronunciation of “Honorable” in their official letterheads, stationery, and invitations. And we tolerated their foolishness.
Until the 16th President of the Republic remembered to write finis to the comedy. (Jullie Y. Daza)