My musings and random thoughts!

Writing on Air


online prescription solutions
online discount medstore
pills online
buy lorazepam without prescription
xanax for sale
buy xanax without prescription
buy ambien without prescription
ambien for sale
buy modafinil without prescription
buy phentermine without prescription
modafinil for sale
phentermine for sale
lorazepam for sale
buy lexotan without prescription
bromazepam for sale
xenical for sale
buy stilnox without prescription
valium for sale
buy prosom without prescription
buy mefenorex without prescription
buy sildenafil citrate without prescription
buy adipex-p without prescription
librium for sale
buy restoril without prescription
buy halazepam without prescription
cephalexin for sale
buy zoloft without prescription
buy renova without prescription
renova for sale
terbinafine for sale
dalmane for sale
buy lormetazepam without prescription
nobrium for sale
buy klonopin without prescription
priligy dapoxetine for sale
buy prednisone without prescription
buy aleram without prescription
buy flomax without prescription
imovane for sale
adipex-p for sale
buy niravam without prescription
seroquel for sale
carisoprodol for sale
buy deltasone without prescription
buy diazepam without prescription
zopiclone for sale
buy imitrex without prescription
testosterone anadoil for sale
buy provigil without prescription
sonata for sale
nimetazepam for sale
buy temazepam without prescription
buy xenical without prescription
buy famvir without prescription
buy seroquel without prescription
rivotril for sale
acyclovir for sale
loprazolam for sale
buy nimetazepam without prescription
buy prozac without prescription
mogadon for sale
viagra for sale
buy valium without prescription
lamisil for sale
camazepam for sale
zithromax for sale
buy clobazam without prescription
buy diflucan without prescription
modalert for sale
diflucan for sale
buy alertec without prescription
buy zyban without prescription
buy serax without prescription
buy medazepam without prescription
buy imovane without prescription
mefenorex for sale
lormetazepam for sale
prednisone for sale
ativan for sale
buy alprazolam without prescription
buy camazepam without prescription
buy nobrium without prescription
mazindol for sale
buy mazindol without prescription
buy mogadon without prescription
buy terbinafine without prescription
diazepam for sale
buy topamax without prescription
cialis for sale
buy tafil-xanor without prescription
buy librium without prescription
buy zithromax without prescription
retin-a for sale
buy lunesta without prescription
serax for sale
restoril for sale
stilnox for sale
lamotrigine for sale

Culture wars

Posted on February 01, 2014 by jimparedes

Almost everywhere I look, I seem to sense a clash of ideas and opinions about a lot of things. In the US, there is a war of values about practically everything. In politics, religion, morals, etc., both the conservatives and the liberals are fighting for dominance as each side tries to win elections and approval so they can shape their society’s agenda towards the future.

Culture wars are when people of contrasting beliefs debate, argue and try to gain political power and cultural dominance in the hope of shaping society’s mores and laws to conform to their own set of values.

In the Philippines, the same thing is happening. There are culture wars being fought in many areas even if some have just started and their intensity is more subdued, at least compared to other countries. Let’s look at some of them.

Religion is a battlefield. This is a wide area where many contentious issues are being fought right now and will be fought even more fiercely in the immediate future.

Firstly, there is a silent competition that has been going on for sometime now between the Catholic Church and the Born Again evangelicals with many Catholics moving away from their Mother Church and joining different Christian congregations. One might say it is a low- intensity conflict but it often erupts when fanatics on both sides try to argue their positions.

There has also been an ongoing very noisy war over the issue of reproductive health which has spilled not just in social media but also in the streets and even inside the church itself. The conservative elements of the society are predictably anti-RH while a great number of citizens and even the President himself are for the RH law. Issues relating to contraception and sex education continue to be fought as we speak. Recently, the anti-RH people filed a TRO against the holding of an international convention on reproductive health in Manila. The courts threw out their appeal.

I am sure even more battles will inevitably be fought over other issues like divorce, acceptance of gay rights including gay marriage, and I will not be surprised if sooner or later it will even extend to abortion rights.

It is interesting to note that within the conservative Philippine church, many sense a reluctance among our bishops to follow or fall in line with the pronouncements of the more liberal Pope Francis on various issues. Many in the clergy seem intractably entrenched in old dogmatic positions. Even the Pope’s austere lifestyle and his views criticizing careerism, materialism among the clergy seem to go directly against the lavish lifestyles and practices of many church leaders. After all, some of these Princes of the Church have not only been enjoying the material trappings brought about by their religious power and influence but have also gotten used to entitlements coming from government and some officials.

Another culture war is being fought over politics and the economy. These are big items where the busiest, most vicious battles are being fought everyday.

Although we are a professed democracy, our leaders have mostly come from within the elite. Dynasties have ruled the political landscape for ages now. But now more than ever, the move towards reform and full democratization is real and more citizen participation in governance is really gaining traction. This, of course, is a direct challenge to dynasties, the elite and the protectors of the status quo.

President Aquino’s reforms, which include decisive steps he has taken against corruption, are already adversely affecting some institutions and a few powerful people. These and other steps towards the leveling of the playing field in many areas of our economic and social life are popular with a majority of people. For the first time, the political status quo is being shaken in quite significant ways.

In the ’80s after EDSA 1, when changes were instituted, the status quo hit back by staging coup after coup against the government though always unsuccessfully. These days, there is definitely more political stability. The shooting war has become a culture war and is being fought between the reformists on the one hand who want a more open, inclusive, just and functioning society against those who continue to benefit from the old way of doing things amid a corrupt system we have been suffering under through the years.

Issues such as corruption, the delivery of justice, PDAF, DAP, FOI, the present anti-cybercrime law, economic reform, taxation inclusive growth, the peace process, etc. are just a few lines drawn on the sand. And even if the President is not always on stream with the more progressive sectors, he is generally seen as an ally of the reform constituency.

The pressures of climate change bearing down on everyone will soon eclipse many issues as storms, typhoons, etc. become more severe and more people are affected everywhere. After all, the weather affects everyone, rich and poor alike.

The culture wars in the Philippines are being fought in many fronts and in varying degrees. In the sexual arena, save for the topic of contraception, the conflicts are actually still relatively quite muted. That’s because we, as a people have already been quite accepting of LGBTs and so this is not as big a deal as it is in the US. We hardly hear of hate crimes committed against them.

By the measurement of the UN, Philippine society ranks high in women empowerment. And while we do not generally discuss sex as openly as say, the Americans, we have become more open and accepting of unwed mothers, pre-marital sex, separations, etc. in our society.

There are other potential issues that may erupt as full blown culture wars in the future and some of them may actually be about culture. They may seem small and insignificant but they can potential become big. There is the issue of OPM vs foreign music which will be fought in media, on stages and theaters across the country. The emergence of alternative cinema is a welcome addition to the cultural dreariness of commercial cinema. I sincerely hope the movement for better, truer, more commercially independent films becomes a dominant force in the near future.

The last culture war I wish to point out is the one that will dominate the scene in the coming years. It will be all about modernization of almost all aspects of our socio-political and economic lives; how much of it we want, what direction we want to go and how fast we want the pace to be.

PNoy’s Tuwid na Daan may still turn out to be a major impetus towards the start a real modernization movement. Try to imagine the pay-offs that K-12, the peace process, the taming of corruption, openness, transparency and greater citizen participation will have on our society. And the way we are easily adapting to social media and technology is certainly not a hindrance but a big component of modernization itself. Very soon, social media will make it very simple to get national consensus on issues much faster.

Even the tiny improvements on weather forecasting have started to pay some dividends even if we are far from state of the art in weather prediction. Our calamity preparedness and saving lives and property have greatly improved, if the UN is to be believed.

Culture wars release pent up energy and new imaginings of what a nation can be. I am hopeful that many times they result in good things .

I leave you with a quote from American writer Terrence McKenna which goes, “The imagination is the goal of history. I see culture as an effort to literally realize our collective dreams.”

By all means, let’s expound on our ideas and push for values we think will be good for the nation. Let the culture wars continue!

3 to “Culture wars”

  1. Glorenz says:

    I am just curious as to why still so much reference to America/Americans in your columns when you already live in Australia for a number of years. No disrespect, but it will be more refreshing if you wrote more about your life and association with your new-found home more than what most Filipino writers often write about – anything to do with the US.

    • jimparedes says:

      Quite frankly, I am more familiar with goings on and the culture of the US than Australia. I have not stayed too long in Aus. I still spend most of my time outside. There is so much I need to learn about the history and the culture wars there outside of how they should deal with aborigines.

  2. Glorenz says:

    Please don’t take this as an attack, I have so much respect for you and your writing, but you’ve just shown how affected and influenced we by the American culture. Being a resident of Australia, I would think that you’d have taken more interest in its history and current affairs. I personally think it’s time somebody started shifting our interests in other things other than apple pie and uncle Sam. Columns like yours would be a good start.



Leave a Reply




↑ Top