Thank you, but I disagree.
From the first days of Kindergarten, my teacher taught my class the value of saying “Thank you.” Chalk in hand, she wrote the sentence on the blackboard and told us not to forget to be thankful, no matter how bad things got.
Fast forward to college. I was thrust into a world where I was constantly and vigorously being reminded, not only to closely examine what I know, but also to question the people and the experiences that give me what I know.
Two nights ago, I saw Mary Jane’s mother on television, angry and refusing to thank the President for the reprieve on her daughter’s execution.
In the aftermath of strong words hurled, a lot had been said about the value of gratitude and how a grateful attitude in the context of the plight of OFWs on death rows overseas would seem to put the Philippine government off the hook, at least temporarily, for its failure to create decent employment opportunities at home.
But that is confusing gratitude for obeisance, which are two vastly different things. Serfs pay obeisance to the sovereign for its ‘benevolent’ dole-outs, while men and women who are equals should be capable of gratitude. Extending gratitude is common courtesy even between people of polar convictions; paying obeisance is knowing whom not to criticize. Obeisance is to simply take abuse sitting down.
In the scheme of things, it is obeisance, not gratitude, which ends all critical and useful discourse. Gratitude is earned, and in the context of free speech one should not, under any circumstance, feel compelled to say it, even if I personally wish it weren’t the case.