We can’t possibly be the only people who think the red carpet fashion show lawmakers put up each year during the President’s State of the Nation Address, and the accompanying media frenzy, is not appropriate and healthy for a young and relatively poor democracy. Seriously, this insanity needs to stop. Here are several reasons why.
1. It demeans and dishonors the institutions these legislators represent.
Legislators, once they accept the responsibility of holding office as a representative or senator, are no longer just persons or individuals, they have become symbols of the institutions they are a part of. Part of their responsibilities, among many others, is to always act in a manner in accordance with their public office. Needless to say (which we will say anyway), acting like a sixteen year old girl about to attend her first prom is not “acting in a manner in accordance with public office”.
In the end, this event destroys the government’s credibility and impacts the public’s perception on how well it can do its job.
2. It mocks the urgency of finding a solution to bridge the already glaring inequality between the powerful and the powerless in this country.
This silly show of extravagance just underscores the hypocrisy of some members of the government and is completely inappropriate in a country where the poor outnumber the rich in mind-boggling quantities.
3. It makes our lawmakers look like attention-hungry, pop star wannabes.
And whether they are (or used to be) attention-hungry, pop star wannabes is not the point. A representative or a senator demeaning himself or herself will only negatively impact the institution he or she represents, and that’s definitely not a good thing. Also, this event just underscores the truthfulness of the saying that politics is really just show business for ugly people.
4. It sends a message to the public that useless stylish fluff is more important than character.
Imagine a twelve year old kid who is watching this event, and seeing, basically, the leaders of this country acting like teenagers invited to a popular kid’s party. What do you think is the underlying message he or she will see? Because from where I’m standing, the event makes it look like our legislators are more interested in pomp and ceremony than substance.
5. It diverts the public’s attention from the main event: the President’s speech.
And that’s the sad part about this whole thing because the message contained in the President’s address is diluted by the media’s inappropriate attention to useless, unimportant things.
Now that we’ve covered why the government and the media’s inordinate attention to SONA fashion is wrong, here’s what we propose the organizers of the SONA should do next year.
1. Remove the red carpet.
Because the SONA is not the Academy Awards or the FAMAS, and acting like it’s an “event” is tacky and tasteless.
2. Impose a strict dress code.
We suggest Filipiniana. Men should come in formal barong tagalog, while women should come in a basic terno. Colors and patterns should be somber and muted i.e. no bright oranges or reds or yellows. Exceptions may be made for legislators like Senator Loren Legarda who wore a traditional indigenous design to promote handmade local fabrics.
3. Media men should not be allowed to ask questions outside of those which involve politics, issues of the day, and the SONA. And politicians should refuse to answer questions not related to these subjects.
Top of the list for most inappropriate question would be: who are you wearing? Because yuck.
Featured photo via inquirer.net.
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