What do politicians in the Philippines and clowns have in common? A lot, if you ask me.
In many ways, the political landscape of the country has always been filled with individuals whose political agenda is nothing but a laughing stock. In many ways, their simple yet foolish magic tricks do wonders and amaze people: from a simple dance plagiarized from YouTube, to a cuss-filled speech boasting of empty bravado.
Clowns always hide their true faces and put on a happy face to delight people. Politicians do the same, but only to deceive people. Nonetheless, clowns can deceive people with by-the-book party tricks that still captivates a lot of the audience. Politicians do the same — doing stunts of extravaganza that are empty, hollow, and reek of a tired spiel.
The popularity of clowns depend on their ability to amaze and entertain the crowd. The popularity of a Philippine politician lives and dies by the wow factor and value they bring to the masses. Clowns may never deliver any impressive results yet still go on to impress audience if their performance is exceptional. In the same vein, politicians may never deliver but give a spectacle the Filipinos can clap on.
Dressing up in a jester suit is a signal of an individual’s transformation into a clown — a signal of becoming a laughing act for the meantime. The suit the clown wears is a clear indicator that the person deserves to be noticed for the act that will or have performed. Jester suits are not meant to be taken seriously, unlike the barong and baro’t saya worn by the politicians.
Yet this is not exactly true. Politicians wear their dresses to be taken seriously, yet their seriousness falters the moment they do their duties. The barong becomes a farce — a dress with significant meaning, yet contains no value. For the moment, their suits become a significant representation of the once-honorable act that their job entails. Now, politicians wear barongs and baro’t saya to tell people that they command a presence and respect, but deserves none for their broken promises and empty actions.
As 2022 nears, more and more politicians throw their hat into the ring. Many of them are familiar faces, many of them are part of the current administration. Yet none of them represent true change except for a select few. Most of them are just jesters dealing cards — cards to fool the people once more.
The Filipino people do not need to speculate how a clown will look like in a decent suit. Nor do they have to conjure up images of the Joker — a villain wearing heavy makeup and killing people. The clowns are already living amongst them, wearing decent suits and giving people promise that will never be fulfilled. The clowns are already amongst them, laughing at their naive belief that they will fix things and never stole from them. Unfortunately, they are not just not performing for performance’s sake — they are given legitimacy by the same laws that they flaunt and ignore, and worse, are duly elected by the people who keep on believing them.
They are not just clowns, though. They are the politicians in the Philippines.