It’s not that I’m reducing these people to just names in the history books. Both Vladimir Putin and Imelda Marcos have unique qualities that do indeed set them apart from others. I just can’t, for the life of me, ignore the recurring themes involved.
Vladimir Putin has alternately served as prime minister and president of Russia from 1999 to the present; and, in doing so, has successfully circumvented a law that bars a president from serving three consecutive terms in office. His time in office has ushered Russia into a time of economic prosperity, but at the cost of a free media and the holding of actual competitive elections. Elections in Russia are supposedly ‘rigged’ to perpetuate those already in power; winners have mostly been from Putin’s own party, United Russia.
Imelda Marcos, on the other hand, was the Philippine’s first lady from 1965 to 1986. She was exiled after the peaceful revolution that ended her husband’s almost two decades rule of the country. Upon her return to the Philippines, she ran for President twice; losing the first time, and backing out on the second bid. In 2010, she ran for congress and won. Her son currently serves as a senator for the republic. Recently, Imelda was named the second richest member of the lower house, while still facing criminal charges for the abuses committed during her time as first lady.
In Battlestar Galactica, the theme of eternal return is explored. “All this has happened before, and all this has happened again” is a line that is repeated through out the series. The point being the recurrence of the same events across time and across space, with only the characters of the game changing.
Relating this to real life, and with history as we know it, the very same patterns can also be observed. War, peace, and revolution—all this has happened before, all this will happen again. If people like Vladimir Putin and Imelda Marcos prove anything, it’s that the same set of actors can continue their roles, even as the perceived ‘game’ has already been changed.
And if these same people do remain in place at the top, what else is there? Can we ever really come by any true and lasting change?