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State of the Nation

July 29, 2008

Mindanao heats up in the wet season, the nightly rain cools the trapped air and turns to towers of puffy clouds waiting for us at sunrise.  As much as my body sweats in the heat of noon it rejoices in the cool of night.  I lie in bed and let the electric fan whisper a breeze over my back.  The dirt from the streets kicks up and slips in my open window, turning to dust on the pictures of my parents and friends.  When I brush it off I think of a time when this dust will no longer be part of me.  How can I be homesick for Mindanao before I even leave?  

I eat hot oats for breakfast and fried fish with rice when my coworkers call me to kitchen.  Today is SONA, or the day for the State of the Nation Address by President Gloria Arroyo.  The Pinoys hate her almost as much as they love acronyms and countless images of protests from Manila to Zamboanga fill the afternoon news and will fill this evening and tomorrow morning’s broadcasts too.  The people resent her corruption and for my part, I’m not sure how someone can give a “State of the Nation” speech when she doesn’t actually live among the people.  I think of an American presidential hopeful going into the grocery store with a senior citizen on his most recent campaign trip to Pennsylvania and being surprised by the price of milk.  I guess I’m still young enough to be angry about the elite taking the reigns of democracy from us when they don’t even know where the horse is on the path.

The state of our nation is this: our complacency keeps the same people in power who always have been.  And when they tell us that to stray from the norm is unAmerican, our fear of the unknown keeps us complacent.  And so on and so forth.

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