It is never too early to think about the next elections, if you’re a politician. After you get into power and are in a position to either do the most good for your constituents or yourself, you have to think about keeping that streak of “doing good” going for as long as you can. You make sure people never forget who you are by putting your face everywhere you can, and by being more “visible”.
It is never too early to think about the next elections if you’re a voter. When that person on stage who just told you what he/she plans to do once elected in office has done a song and dance number, or given you that freebie sack of rice or pangkabuhayan (livelihood) showcase, or convinced you that he/she is the least evil of the lot, you go to the precinct, do your “civic duty”, and gleefully await the next opportunity to repeat the cycle.
Your responsibility ends once you cast your vote – or so the conventional thinking during elections here goes.
For the typical politician, one bad, or over-hyped incident can make or break one’s chances in the upcoming elections. The challenge for him/her is to increase exposure, usually by plastering his/her face everywhere he/she can, while avoiding situations in which he/she opens his/her mouth and says something stupid, like in debates, for example.
For the typical voter, the thought process more or less is defined by a certain set of questions:
“Who among them has done the most for me?”
“Who among them is the least corrupt?”
“Who is the most winnable?”
The common denominators that define the questions that a typical voter would ask revolve around the concepts of the lesser evil and of “winnability”.
The above, in a nutshell, currently describes what an election scenario eventually amounts to in the Philippines. If you, as a Filipino, see nothing fishy with the way things unfold as stated above, then your country deserves the quality of leaders, and thus the overall fate, that it gets every time.
It is time to look for an alternative. An alternative to insanity – doing the same thing but expecting different results.
When some wannabe pundit comes along, makes a case for not considering certain potential candidates, but ultimately discusses personalities and events instead of issues, that should be a sign to you that there’s something very wrong with the way certain Filipinos think.
Whenever a certain politician is criticized, the first question that many Filipinos ask in forums is “If not politician X, then whom would you have in that position?” What a way to miss the point. For those same Filipinos, it is about defending their choice of manok (one’s preferred bet in a cockfight). It is about the other party being sour-grapes because their own manok did not win in the last elections. It is about “moving on” and “support na lang” instead of “bringing politician X down with criticism.”
It is about kampihan (taking sides), and yes, more often than not, the loyal followers of current president Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino III are the ones doing this.
The very concepts of “kampihan”, “lesser evil” and “winnability” indicate an inclination to settle for something less.
“Pwede-na-yan, those are the only ones available and worth considering anyway.”
Here’s something Filipino voters might not be able to think of: they don’t necessarily have to choose only from among the names currently being thrown around.
When are they going to discuss issues instead of people? When are they going to focus on evaluating platforms?
Filipinos should ask themselves this: they feel that they are certain about what they don’t want, but what is it that they do want?
If only there were some way to inculcate the practice of corporate buyers into the rest of the electorate, because there’s no way people can vote wisely if they buy stupidly. The electorate would have a list of requirements that includes both quantitative and qualitative requirements. They would have to include a little bit more detail than they’re used to; they just can’t say “he/she must not be corrupt”. Neither would it be appropriate to say, though, that “he/she must build our barangay a basketball court”, or “he/she must support a given number of scholars”.
Ultimately, the power to shape the opinion and minds of many lies in the hands of the few. And thus continues the struggle with media outfits that perpetually dumb down the electorate and make them mindless zombies with the drivel they espouse.
The first step is to change the thinking process. Problems cannot be solved using the same thinking that created them.
Indeed, it is never too early to think about the next elections in the Philippines. However, Filipinos should have started the thinking eons ago. The wretchedness of their society today is the outcome of the utter lack of it.
[Photo courtesy: Little Dollhouse on the Prairie]
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