‘Most important (in my eyes at least), a budding leader like Bel should make it clear from the beginning that she joins those who aspire for a society where doing the right thing is rewarded, not penalized…’
I WOKE up the other day with someone in mind. I will refer to her as “Bel,” a young professional raising a son and husband like many others of her generation, except that she is a soon-to-be public servant (albeit a reluctant one) come 2022.
Bel is no stranger to public service. Her father has spent over 50 years in government, at times in elective posts and at others as a member of the Executive. His longevity, though, is not because he is a “political operator;” far from it. His longevity derives more from his being a “technocrat,” one who is valued for his opinions on matters in which he is an expert. This is also why he is not widely regarded as a “trapo” despite having been in service for so long.
But this is also why Bel is a reluctant candidate – because wading into the political arena is not something her family does for a living – as many do. That reluctance, though, is why I look to her as a source of hope in a political environment that has many times brought me to the brink of giving up on this country.
It is my fervent wish that as Bel wades into the political arena she finds her bearing and opts to become a transformational leader in a sea of transactional ones. Her constituents will be best served that way. So will her country.
It won’t be easy. But if Bel is as smart as I know she is, has her heart and mind in the right place, and draws from the numerous lessons and examples that her father can enrich her with, she will find a way.
She can begin, I dare propose, by making sure that the focus during all her years in office is on her constituents, not on herself. She is no stranger to the principles of Constitutional law and the theoretical basis of representative government that lie at the heart of the power of the citizens in a republic. From these I hope she finds the rationale to project her persona as simply the facilitator of the interests of her constituents and the realization of their dreams.
In a country where everything is designed to revolve around the persona of the leader – from the “kapitan” of our most basic political unit all the way up to the President of the Philippines – Bel would be a refreshing breath of fresh air.
More important, I hope Bel lets her constituents know that, smart as she is, she doesn’t have all the answers to the riddles or challenges of life. Rather, she will be there to inspire and encourage her constituents to find the solutions themselves. Ennobling them by enabling them.
Most important (in my eyes at least), a budding leader like Bel should make it clear from the beginning that she joins those who aspire for a society where doing the right thing is rewarded, not penalized; where what you know counts as much as (in fact even more than) who you know; where passion and compassion temper but do not replace steadfastness especially in the application of rules; a society in which diligent study, preparation and hard work should be enough to help you get ahead.
If she can achieve those, guess what? In her little corner of the political world Bel will be cultivating the most important currency in public affairs, one which, when lost, could not and cannot be replaced even by guns, goons and gold: trust. Trust in the system, trust in the transformational nature of leadership, and trust in each other.
Now, what can be more revolutionary than that?
Good luck Bel!