Pilipinasblitz Forever: A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of July 2-8, 2014
POSTSCRIPT TO PRIDE MONTH, SEGUE TO THE 238TH 4TH OF JULY
In last week’s column, I told you that I will be in San Francisco for the Pride March to wave my rainbow flag once again – and I was there and I did wave my flag! I purposely parked myself at the corner of Market and 8th, at the end of the parade route, because I wasn’t there just to watch the parade this year – it was also to meet a dear old friend, someone I’ve lost touch with for many years.
He and I were texting each other: He: Where are you? I: Am here on Market and 8th. He goes: I’m wearing pink shirt. Your shirt color? And I answer: Violet. I wasn’t even hip enough to text “purple.” Hay naku, dalawang bading talaga! Finally he texts: I see you. And then there he was.
How do we condense six years of a mutual unintentional personal news blackout, knowing that the other party has another appointment to run to in an hour and I myself have to hop on the BART to Tranquility Base (Hayward, woot!) so I can bang out this column and lose myself in writing other papers for school?! Well, I have just discovered in my conversation with Miguel, a fellow writer, that this feat is doable in 10 freakin’ minutes, with an informal rider of a future lunch or coffee appointment for a truly no-holds barred chikahan.
Miguel was my classmate in one of my many incarnations as an eternal student, and we’re talking ancient history here, as in I was still in the Philippines, more than 20 years ago. There were days on end when he and I always had our lunch together, just the two of us, and he would just be my quiet sounding board as we as a batch weathered the challenges of being medical students. Eventually, I bowed out without finishing the course due to my bipolar disorder and Miguel went on to become a medical doctor. We lost touch.
When I migrated to California years later, imagine my elation upon finding out that although many batch mates I know are doctors in the East Coast, Miguel actually set up his practice in Northern California after further training in SUNY and UC Davis. He and I kept up a sporadic email correspondence for a while but after having dinner in San Francisco just before I left for a brief vacation in Manila, Miguel and I completely lost touch in 2008. However, I was confident that our friendship will prove stronger than that temporary setback. I told myself that reconnecting with my writer/doctor-friend may just be a matter of proper timing.
Well, that’s just the astrologer in me speaking, as usual. I did not want to unduly emphasize that we are actually under the last days of the retrograde motion of the planet Mercury these days (it ends July 1) without also offering options about what activities are favorable during this period. Short of immobility (don’t sign contracts, don’t buy electronic equipment, don’t begin new projects, etc.), Mercury Retrograde is actually good for planning, research, inventory of resources, and completion of projects already begun. You know what this period is also good for? Reconnecting. Remember that Mercury REtrograde is all about those RE activities like review, recall, reconsider, retrace, repeat, and rewrite, among others?
The long and short of it was that I was able to reconnect with Doc Miguel in the midst of the SF Pride 2014 march and festivities. He told me that he married his partner last year. I told him that I’m still looking. He agreed and said that we’re all evolving. And both of us had some interesting thoughts about organized religion and many other things. I told you, we ran through this mini-exchange of life synopses in 10 minutes. I also gave him a couple of recent issues of this paper, although I found out that he was already reading my weekly column through my Facebook feed. He and I will see each other again for a longer conversation sometime soon.
I got hungry, ate lunch, and then walked to position myself across my original perch on Market and 8th. The people crowding around the wire fence were seven-deep. All of a sudden – who was that I spied marching with the contingent of an organization called Open Families, pushing a stroller? Could it really be Sylvie from the social services office? I quickly re-crossed the street to see if I may intercept her at 8th and Mission. It turned out that Sylvie was actually with her wife, Portia, and they had their young son and daughter with them. The four of them were going to hit the park when I got to them. All these years I thought that Sylvie was straight. Note to self: Bles, about anything or anyone, please don’t assume. It makes an “ass” of “u-m-e” (you and me). (Quote from the Mr. Palmer character in “NCIS”)
Now let’s segue to a different kind of phenom: the ultimate rebellion, the men who kicked a** for the “United States of America,” as they began calling the 13 original colonies back then, by ratifying the Declaration of Independence. This, part of the Preamble of said Declaration, is probably the most widely known sentence in the English language:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Please let’s not stop there. We all know that it ain’t all about life, liberty, and the pursuit of getting lucky, if I may paraphrase respectfully. Reading further down the document, and may I paraphrase again, we learn that in order to secure those rights, a government is established with the consent of the governed. However, should this government fail in its roles and become abusive, the people have the right to alter or abolish it. (Side note: It’s just unfortunate that no women signed this pivotal historical document.)
Like I keep saying – wait, uh, I don’t always say it but this is how I stand about people power: I’m all for it. I originally came from the Philippines, home of the “People Power Revolution,” also known as the EDSA Revolution or February Revolution which happened last Feb. 22-25, 1986. Two and a half million people marched to EDSA, a major highway in Metro Manila, to demand the ouster of 20-year reigning dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The People Power Revolution’s claim to fame during those four days was that there was no one killed even if there were tensions between the military (whose mission was to arrest the top generals who defected to the “freedom” side) and the masses of people who formed ranks to stop tanks and then reached across the divide to offer water, flowers, or maybe even a rosary to soldiers. It was the ultimate triumph of civil disobedience: it was a bloodless uprising that accomplished its mission (regime change) and sent its message to the entire world – Hey, a bloodless revolution is possible!
So to all of us: Happy 238th Independence Day, USA! Thank you, United States of America, for showing my native land a model for democracy. Let’s declare ourselves independent from the petty tyrants, oddball oppressors, and limiting situations in our lives. Let’s think for ourselves again, do things for our own happiness again. However, when the time comes that we need to use our collective power as a people again, united to stop very grave abuses by the government or a public/private entity, I am hoping that we can summon our “people power” chuvanezz magic again. Yes, the power resides in us, individually and collectively. It always has.
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