arroyo’s tactical error in her SONA 2009- the 4% we remember, the 96% we don’t
SONA 2009 is arroyo’s last as president. in many things last, specially in speeches, you normally want it to be your best. these are the last words that your audience will hear from you and that gives you the energy to make it the most memorable.
being the last words also makes you want to enumerate what you have stood for and yes, your accomplishments. accomplishments specially for a public office is very important as they are what you were elected to do in the first place. an office such as the presidency also transcends and goes beyond the execution part of the presidency as that office also defines the principles and beliefs that a nation adapts.
in arroyo’s last SONA has failed in these things. well, she did achieve in getting images in our minds but they are of the wrong kind. and that comes from what we think is a grave tactical error in the writing of the speech.
look at the newspapers and watch the tv news and the overwhelming last take-away and what is most talked about are two things : (a) she did not categorically say she will step down in 2010 and (b) her tirades and attacks on key opposition figures.
the tragedy is that those are two of three components of the speech. in terms of weight, those two items acount for probably less than 4% of all the words in her speech and yet here we are the morning after and that is all we are talking about.
those are the only two things we now remember and want to discuss, we did not at all pay attention nor do we remember that part of her speech that accounts for at least 96% of all the words she said – her accomplishments and achievements.
including those 4% in her speech is gross tactical error not only for the nation but more importantly from her point of view her legacy.
this ending of term speech will play a significant part in defining arroyo’s legacy as president. a big part of her legacy will that be of a president who ends her term in bitterness against those who oppose her and a presidency unable to control itself and getting pleasure in attacking her critics.
what makes that even more telling is that the critics she attacked are supposedly from the minority, a very small portion of the political landscape. one is a convicted criminal, the other a leader in congress removed from power and a senator who cussed his way into history. surely given the credentials of the critics she attacked is no match to her position as president and her huge accomplishments.
attacking these minor players belonging to the political minority showed the presidency which we are supposed to hold high stooping down to the gutter just to get some puny pot shots in. the magnitude of the attack, the stature from wher it came from and the targets has pushed the presidency of this country into a heap of toxic waste.
arroyo has been accused repeatedly of not respecting institutions and those we hold dear as a nation, this one is one more example of that. arroyo tarnished her own position, the presidency.
of all things said in her SONA, there was one thing everyone was waiting for and that was something she did not say categorically – that she will step down from power in 2010 when her term expires.
instead of categorically saying she will step down as cory aquino said in her own last SONA, arroyo gave us wordsmithing of vagueness that had a back door wide open.
arroyo did not say she will step down from power in 2010, all she gave us was this line: “I have never expressed desire to extend myself beyond my term.”
the unsaid on the topic of her plans after 2010 is that she might relent to a clamor from others for her to extend herself beyond her term. it does smell of a set-up.
arroyo has been completely silent on actions in congress on cha-cha always saying they are not involved in the efforts and that these are being done independently by them. according to her spokespersons the they are keeping their hands off and yet she has not categorically told them not to pursue it.
of course none of that we believe. we have witnessed this presidency many times over telling lies about its intent and actions. we know that in this administration words said are not exactly actions executed. and the more dangerous part – words unsaid are the actions done.
there is irony there. in fact irony is all over the place in this country of ours. we now have the leftists and militants seemingly providing us with moral direction while the rightists and the government are providing us with lies and out of moral if not illegal actions.
that is where arroyo’s legacy will sit – the 4% that we remember and the 96% that was said that we chose not to listen to. the morning after is one hell of a ride.