Manny Pacquiao: Why PacMan should leave the SenateWritten by Lee Cleveland
If the Filipino Congress is anything like the American Congress, serving can be frustrating.
In the States, an inspired young man or woman will run for office, get elected and start her/his first term with unbridled enthusiasm and optimism.
They will roll their sleeves up on Day 1, ready to set their ideas in motion and bring about positive change.
... But when they get a taste of how Congress works, their enthusiasm is stunted by disappointment.... And when they learn how Congress REALLY works, they become downright depressed.
Welcome to big-time politics where it seems you have to be part of the problem to be part of the solution.
Try to figure that one out.
Enter Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
He served as a full-time congressman and professional boxing champion for several years until he decided run for a senate seat, hoping the added rigors and responsibility would enable him to parlay his enhanced power into bringing about quicker, more impactful change.
Manny would win that seat but life in the Congress' upper chamber is probably not what he'd hoped.
Now, in just his second year as a senator, there are rumblings that he's unclear as to whether he'll seek election.
"I feel dismayed, discouraged. I want to let go because I'm not used to politicking," Pacquiao told The Philippine Star earlier this week.
"I discovered that in politics, you wouldn't know what's real or not. People have many faces," he said.
The 38 year old Manny is frustrated with his political career.
Bringing about sweeping change, legislatively, is not easy. Processes can be slow and passing impactful legislation can be full of pitfalls which include, but are not limited to, fellow legislators who have alternative agendas.
Welcome to big-time politics.
Does Manny get it?
Perhaps Manny doesn't realize he doesn't have to be a senator or even a president in order to effect impactful change and become a voice for the less fortunate.
In fact, serving in the senate might be a bit limiting for someone as revered as Pacquiao.
Manny's popularity, accomplishments and wealth make him far more powerful than any senate seat would. With the power he has simply being Manny Pacquiao, he, as a private citizen, can work with the Filipino government and businesses to initiate programs and start organizations that would help serve the needs of the less fortunate.
He can also be a 'watchdog' for the disadvantaged, speak out against injustices and help like-minded candidates get elected.
There is so much Manny can do.... Outside the senate.
Another boxing legend brought about tremendous change yet was never in government.... Muhammad Ali anyone?
And what about Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and Bill and Melinda Gates?
Although Lech Wałęsa and Nelson Mandela eventually became presidents, they are better known for their prior achievements as non-governmental activists.
I admire - and share - Manny's concerns for the disenfranchised. But if I had Manny's reverence and wealth, you wouldn't find me in the senate. I'd be making far greater, less restrictive contributions outside of politics.
Manny should leave the senate and use his power and influence as an independent activist where he wouldn't be beholden to the constraints of government and political parties. And if the great Pacquiao is still capable of fighting at the championship level, I would recommend that he stage a farewell tour consisting of 3 or 4 fights against mid-tier contenders.
Have him rematch Horn in Australia, and then pit him against contenders in places such as the UK, India, Dubai, Japan or Russia. He'd make a lot of money because he'd be a major attraction in those countries. And because his opponents wouldn't be elite, he wouldn't be taking serious risks.
Who cares about titles at this point? Pacquiao is bigger than a title.
Manny can attract a crowd without a title just as he can be a instrument for justice without a senate seat.