At the age of fifty-three, Corazon, “Cory”, Aquino became the first woman president of the Philippines and the first ever female president in Asia.
She defeated Ferdinand Marcos, whose wife was more famous than he was worldwide because of her ridiculous and huge shoe collection.
Previously, Cory Aquino had been a quiet, devoted housewife, raising her five children and living happily in exile in Boston with her husband, Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. When he was assassinated upon a return to the Philippines, that was it for Cory. She went back home and started campaigning against Marcos, who had declared martial law after serving two terms as president and not entitled to a third, fourth, fifth or twenty-seventh term.
In order to prove that “they love me, they really love me,” Marcos called for a special election for president. Game on, hons!
This campaign was nasty. We think American politics is bad? This campaign and election was fraught with massive fraud, violence, intimidation, coercion, and bloodshed. The U.S. condemned all the goings on. And then President Reagan tried to hold Mrs. Aquino down by unsuccessfully brokering power sharing with an American diplomat, Philip Habib.
Though initially and fraudulently named the winner, Marcos was forced to step down when his own military, with the support of the Catholic Church, surprisingly announced that they defected from him and that Aquino had rightfully won.
In office, President Corazon Aquino who had spent her life to date as a modest housewife, went to work cleaning up the mess Marcos had left. She threw out his entire governmental structure and created a new Constitution and Congress. She took away Marcos’ abusive taxes, reorganized the Supreme Court, and emphasized civil liberties, human rights and social justice, with a supportive focus on the family.
You can read here in Wikipedia President Aquino’s upbringing. She had an exceptional childhood and education and was probably the most uniquely prepared person to take on the task of cleaning up the Philippines.
The people loved her. She went after all of Marcos’ money, that he had taken from them and hidden away out in the world. And in Imelda’s shoe closet. She worked for peace with communist and Muslim secessionist factions in her country. She brought social responsibility back to the structure of the society. And wearing sensible shoes.
She did all this while humbly claiming to be just a housewife, cleaning up with her broom and dust mop traded in for governmental reforms.
President Aquino’s push to late bloomer status was probably a combination of the assassination of her husband along with the cumulative years of Marcos’ despotic reign. It takes remarkable energy and stamina to climb the mountain of ick such as the one Marcos had spent years building. Sometimes a person is catapulted into the endorphin producing state needed to accomplish this by tragedy and anger. In other words, do not piss off a highly educated housewife, hons.
She died a short 23 years after starting all this. But she had accomplished what the best planetary house-guests do – she left the place much tidier than she’d found it.
With Cory’s inspiration, I will now see what I can do with Fenwick’s underwear drawer.