What a difference an election can make. Since his swearing in as Philippine President this past June, succeeding Washington puppet Benigno Aquino III, the outspoken, plain-talking Rodrigo Duterte has moved his strategically pivotal Asian country away from the US geopolitical orbit. Now President Duterte is on an Asian tour that has taken him to China and then Japan. Soon he has indicated plans to meet Russia’s Putin too. He appears set to blow a huge hole in the Pentagon Asia Pivot aimed at encircling China militarily. And the Philippines shift is setting off tectonic shifts across the Asia space from Vietnam to Myanmar and beyond.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up