Jessica and CJ Corona
Have you ever seen anyone win second place as triumphantly and with as much grace as Jessica Sanchez? In a world which seems to believe, “second is first loser,” Jessica demonstrated to us that there are times when there is no such thing as losing. One can win just as much or even more than the winner even by coming in second.
After all, American Idol is a voting contest. There is no guarantee the voters will vote correctly and for the right reasons. In the case of Jessica, there was no question at all who was the better singer. She presented one big performance after another finishing finally with a screaming jazz and soul duet number with Jennifer Holliday that left no doubt at all what she was capable of, no doubt at all we were looking at another great Filipina singer following after a very long tradition of great Filipina singers. This tradition follows after big names like Pilita, Kuh Ledesma, Lea Salonga and so many others. Their image resonates in the minds of most Filipino viewers. It was this role Jessica played so well. Is it any surprise the Americans missed it entirely? Phillip Phillips looked exactly like the all-American-male, guitar strumming, country-folk singer, an image which dominated the American Idol competitions for the last five years. He was bound to win.
And yet it was the manner by which Jessica took in all these that should make all of us proud. Her statements after the contest, how she loved Phillip’s music, the way she never complained about losing gives us a good example of sportspersonship at a time when competitions often grow desperate and bloody. It is an example which should not be lost on those who have viewed or have been directly involved in the impeachment trial of CJ Renato Corona.
Just weeks before the final presentations and verdict are made, we have perfect reason to put this affair in proper perspective. Months of trial and out of court maneuverings have colored this issue completely. It was heavily politicized from the very beginning. The problem with politics is that it is a voting game not necessarily obligated to truth and correctness. It is exactly like the American Idol contest.
And yet it doesn’t mean the whole affair will not open our eyes to what truths there are to see. In fact, it will. But there is no telling how the final outcome will best conform to it, whether the judgment will truly be just. In the end, the act of voting is a construct having its own intrinsic nature and limitations. In the end, we will all answer for how well we take in the result. Will we take it as well as Jessica? And what of the main players?
Thus far, we have been presented a good show reflecting both the comedy and drama of traditional Philippine political life. The competition was bloody and towards the end even teary-eyed dramatic. Finally, we saw live on television the spectacle of an aged man at the pinnacle of his power and yet wracked with a bad heart and diabetes. Now we see him risking life and limb to defend the remainder of all that he owns or ever owned after a long life. His life has been laid bare before us. And it seems he is pleading for public sympathy. Even so, he will now be judged not so much for having too little of what he should have had but for having more than what he justly should have, and then, for keeping it all secret.
But politics, just like singing contests, is a voting competition. In a perfect world, nobody should die or even lose sleep over it. In a perfect world, the impeachment trial would have been merely an orderly and yes, cold, presentation of legal arguments, logically resolved at its end in a manner that moves us closest to the requirements of justice and the common good. Instead we are reminded once again: It is not a perfect world. More things are at stake than are apparent. It is all about life and death, all about political power and why it will always be the strongest magnet for despair.
This is not to be, but just imagine, if you will: CJ Renato Corona, finally awaiting the ultimate judgment of the court, with a “Jessica Sanchez” smile on his face. He should show to us now what he should have shown us from the very beginning: the staunchness of dignity to be expected of the country’s highest magistrate, who has come neither to explain himself nor express his enmity and hatred. He has come simply to give the impeachment court its legal due of respect. At the end of it, he would do well to remind us that court decisions result only from a tally of human decisions notwithstanding their inherent insufficiency and seldom if ever coldly disinterested.
There will be times when the right person wins. But this is not always the case. The point is to walk away smiling and with your back straight and upright. There are worse things than losing.
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