Filipino American History
Many politicians misuse the power bestowed upon them to get away with extortion, crime and fraud amongst other issues. This is the case presented by the story, Mayor of the Roses by Marianne Villanueva. In this short story, she tells of a girl who was gang raped by the mayor, his nephew, gardener and guards then brutally murdered in cold blood. What is more surprising is the fact that even the locals of the area thought it was unfair on the mayor, whom they considered their father. Most surprisingly is the fact that justice was not served because the mayor used his influence to get out of jail after he was sentenced. Crooke and Fitzgerald cite that, “politicians who cynically misuse power of the state for personal or political benefit are a far greater threat to democracy than criminals, even organized gangs,” (2014).
Most politicians even those who claim to fight against injustice and for democracy misuse their power in one way or another. In this story, the mayor of the town, the one person that people would look up to for protection and safety is the same person who commits a crime and get away with it in the end. The story shows how the mayor sought to make himself happy by raping a university students and killing her. Instead of ensuring the safety of the town as he is supposed to, he engages in ruining it because he knew he would get away with the crime.
Towards the start of the story, the writer talks about remembering a girl who was thrown out of a car while she was naked after being held up there. She thought they only wanted to embarrass her while the truth is that they raped her (Villanueva 1). The most surprising thing is that the mother of the writer denied this ever happening as though to protect her self. In many instances, politicians threaten those who are in their way in order to get away with crime. Although it is not certain that the mayor did this to the first girl, the action is not different from the one he committed. This highlights how politicians not only use power to get away with crimes, but also threaten and intimidate people to stop them from talking. This is denying democracy where every person has the right to be heard and even to testify.
Towards the end in the courtroom, the writer talks about a woman who always covered her face and remained silent. She always showed up during the hearing process, indicating she had some interest in the case (Villanueva 10). This woman was the one thrown out of the vehicle without her clothes. The fact that it is the mayor hearing and she was present meant she never got justice. Probably the people who were her witnesses like the writer’s mother were threatened and refused to talk about the issue. This is a threat to democracy considering very few people would be willing to stand against a powerful man in trial
The first incident could have had many motives. Ensuring of law and order is one of the most used issues in gaining public support. The public want to walk on streets that are safe where their children are not sexually abused, no thugs, murderers, rape, and organized crime. Many politicians create a perceived crisis to the safety of the people in order to gain public attention concerning what they shall do about it. People will vote for the person who promises to end this issue. The first incident could have been propagated by the mayor to create a perceived crisis that would allow him to convince the people there is a threat to law and order and promise to take care of it (Crooke and Fitzgerald 2014).
Justice for the victims only happens when the perpetrator serves for his crime. In this case, the fact that the mayor was free for all this time after the women had been raped and thrown out of the vehicle indicates he used his power to avoid justice. In addition, as the writer tells the story of the rape occurred, she mentions how she was able to identify the house and believed it was true about what the mayor used to do (Crooke and Fitzgerald 2014).
Many people from the town trusted him and believed that he was there to make their lives better by making the city safe for all people. All politicians convince the public of their good interests for them in order to get to power while the truth is the opposite. Majority of politicians claim ho they intend to help the people, make promises they cannot fulfill and even blame others to cover their actions. While the public believes them, the opposite is true. For instance, the mayor is served with the responsibility of managing a city and ensuring safety of its people. However, this is the opposite considering he is the perpetrator of the crime.
The people described in the story are poor considering the writer describes how they look and the kinds of places they live in. majority of them are in dusty places and sell hand-made goods by the roadside. This highlights their poverty. On the other hand, the mayor is very rich and one cannot please him with money. His guards had to look for another way to please him. Instead of seeking to make the city’s budget better, he is busy seeking ways of enriching himself.
Most surprisingly is how he extorts money from the people by using his influence. People believe that mayor is helping them by playing the lucky numbers. What they do not know is that he gets to retain much of the money made from the lucky numbers. This money comes from their pockets. Despite being rich, he does not care to extort more money from the innocent people. This is typical of many politicians who seek to benefit them selves from the power they get (Crooke and Fitzgerald 2014).
It is clear that those in high
political organizations tend to abuse the power bestowed upon them to gain
certain benefits or get away with some of their crimes. At the highest position
such as that of a mayor, one is able to influence many things that go on within
a town. In this case, we see denial of justice especially at the end of the
story where we read about the mayor sitting on a bath tab with rose petals that
his wife Fe picked up for her. Another interesting turn of events is his wife
being the current mayor of the town. This made it even easier for the mayor to
get out of jail. In addition, to justice denial, the mayor extorts money from
the public through the lucky numbers.
Crooke and Fitzgerald. Abuse of Power does nothing to Protect us. abc.net.au, February 3, 2014. Web. June 25, 2014.
Villanueva, Marianne. Mayor of the Roses: Stories. Oxford, Ohio: Miami University Press, 2005. Print.