Activists should focus on the substance rather than on the expense of election campaigns

Many ‘activists’ who are focusing on how much money is spent by election candidates and where and when their colourful messages are being flashed miss the whole point of elections. Elections are a necessarily messy occasion. Messiness is a good symptom of a healthy number of options presented to “the people” — those folk that democracy romanticists have long insisted are the ultimate source of the government’s “power” and “mandate” to “govern”.

philippine_electionsLately I’ve been seeing a lot of factoids being exchanged regarding what’s-his-face spending this-and-that much on so-and-so ad. And I’m thinking:

So what?

The real question I’d be more interested in getting an answer for is simple:

What was the message delivered by what’s-his-face after spending this-and-that pesos on so-and-so ad?

Campaign spending — like OFW remittances, Christmas handouts, and foreign money “invested” in fly-by-night sweatshops — are after all just one class of the handful of windfall “blessings” that Filipinos routinely look to the heavens with gaping mouths every year or every odd-year to fund their socio-cultural vices. In a society that has long lacked a tradition of creating durable capital indigenously, consumption stimuli (one-time injections of cash into people’s pockets) have long been the income source of choice.

Thus we should see campaign spending from the perspective of the average Pinoy schmoe — just another wealth distribution occasion like the fiestas they look forward to every year while scraping together peanuts in the days in between. So who cares? Paubaya na natin sa mga yan. Whenever fiesta election rolls in, it should be a celebration of cash windfalls for the palamunins — when politicians dip into their stash of kurakot money stashed away in their secret dollar accounts and repatriate large sums of money from their holdings overseas and shower their countrymen like the proverbial jolly fat man in red does in that other favourite holiday of Da Pinoy.

Filipinos should embrace the spectacle and encourage and goad their politicians: Impress us plez. The Filipino voter has the power to see all that money being spent by these bozos either wasted or spent well. And whether it is spent well (win!) or not (lose!), the average Filipino schmoe wins. They get their cash, they go off and buy their cellphone loads. So much for their “participation” in this noble democratic exercise. It’s just economics. The free market should be left to sort itself out.

As for us who can afford to sit around in our comfy armchairs staring at our navels, tapping on our iPads, while sipping a latté at the corner Starbucks, why not focus on the substance of the messages being sent out by our esteemed politicians? Forget about how much they spent, or where and when they spent it. The real question is: What is the essence of what they are pitching to Da Pinoy Voter?

Understanding messages are intellectual exercises befitting true thought leaders. Gossiping about campaign expenditure is best left to the citizens of Mediocristan.

As Eleanor Roosevelt was said to have said:

Small minds discuss people;
Mediocre minds discuss events;
Great minds discuss ideas.

Focus the chatter on ideas and perhaps sometime in the distant future, Filipino politicians will think twice about spending a million bucks on flashing vacuous slogans in 30-second slots inserted in what may be the Willie Revillame noon time shows of those times.

For now, this is a country where the arguments that are “droll and unintelligent, focused on the trivial or the irrelevant” tend to dominate the National “Debate”. Presuming to have a say in how politicians manage their campaigns is time and effort best spent in other pursuits by our so-called “activists”. It is best to focus on what one can realistically make an impact on within one’s small sphere of influence rather than attempt to push the tide.

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36 Comments on “Activists should focus on the substance rather than on the expense of election campaigns”

  1. Mediocrestan – a country where the quality of life is just passable, but often degrades into substandard.

    I would expect that activists should be at least marginally be better than the populace that they’re supposedly trying to rouse up to action. Unfortunately, they suffer from the same whining, vacuous, victim mentality that the rest of the people do.

    The people have always had it in them to say no to leaders who are unfit for the job, but they always make the wrong decisions, because of the power of stupidity in large groups.

    So if you think about it, what are these activists for? Barking dogs?

  2. P-noy, the administration and LP are seemingly dismantling the foundations of democracy, and instead intent on establishing a restrictive and repressive regime where control is total and criticism punished, at the very time when the political systems and democratic principles need to be strengthened and rebuilt, if the country has any real hope of political progress, social opportunity, and economic prosperity for all, not just for the ‘feudal’ families and their sycophants.

    The reality of their actions during the past 3 years exposes and underlines the true motivations behind the hypocricy inherent in their endless lies and propaganda, their persecution of political enemies, and their disregard for the rule of law.

    Any real/genuine opposition with a clear and simple campaign strategy would have destroyed the LP/ team p-noy myth by now, simply by focussing on ‘ the big lie’ of ‘daang matuwid’ without even the need to try and discredit individuals, or descending into soap opera politics, but by going ‘back to basic principles’ of democracy and focussing on a new agenda for a new philippines, underpinned by strong values, core principles, and pragmatic plans and priorities.

    Democracy has many constituent parts, but the foundations and pillars are built upon: representation, freedom, justice, accountability, separation of powers, humanity.

    It seems p-noy has applied reverse gear to all aspects of a sustainable democracy and instead of making progress in key areas, has in practice done the exact opposite of what is required, and also the opposite of what he promised.

    – freedom of expression, – Not, media/internet control through aspects of the cybercrime law ( libel, take-down clause) and a mainstream media which acts more like a public relations department rather than professional journalists

    – freedom of information – Not, derailing the bill to ensure continued secrecy and lack of accountability

    – open competition and free markets – Not, expanding foreign restrictions, ignoring anti-trust laws, and remaining isolationist rather than joining international trading groups ( e.g TPP)

    – fair elections – Not, bending the rules to suit, or making the process less clear and transparent, with Comelec constantly acting as an instrument of tge administration.

    – equal access and consistent application of the rule of law – Not, being selective in cases, biased in rulings, fast- tracking or delaying the process to favour the government, and allowing ‘decisions’ to be ‘bought’ if tge price is right.

    – public service – Not, self- service where politics represents a crock of gold at the end of the election road, with bribes/backhanders and scams, and the single most corrupt tool in government PDAF ( pork barrel) which has not only increased, but is clearly and openly used by p-noy to bribe senators/congressmen

    – humanity and respect for the individual – Not, increases in human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, human trafficking, private armies, and hired guns/ massacres which go unpunished, and investigations/reports which are ‘whitewashed’

    – seperation of powers – Not, interference in, and pressure on, other branches of governent with puppet appointments.

    – representation – Not, a system which in reality denies a representative mix, through the bastardisation of the party list system, and financial barriers to entry which preclude all but the trapos. When wealth is both, the way to achieve position, and the driving reason, then the reality is an oligarchy masquerading as a democracy.

    – leadership/role-models/values, selection of the best in terms of integrity, intellect and industriousness – Not, appointment of KKK with little experience, incompetence, conflicts of interest, and who repeatedly receive automatic immunity for transgressions

    – competence, continuous improvement, and achievement – Not, failed targets in the majority of departments, lost import containers, tax evaders, increased crime, illegal activities increasing ( smuggling, gambling, mining), fugitives at large.

    Overall the result is clearly an administration more focussed upon power than service, rhetoric than results, and exclusivity than inclusivity.

    It does not augur well for either systemic or societal change, or inclusive economic benefits, but simply maintainance of the status quo, which has already served the country so badly for the past 50 years.

    Without new blood, new thinking, a new agenda and a new direction, then the old dogs will simply pass on their corrupt ways and insular thinking to their litter of workshy mongrels.

    A LP dominated senate would be ruinous for the country as it rubber stamps even more oppressive and self serving legislation designed to secure a longterm power base for the oligarchs.

    “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great
    wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
    Louis D. Brandeis (Supreme Court Judge)

    “There is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic system are simple. They are:
    Equality of opportunity for youth and others;
    Jobs for those who can work;
    Security for those who need it;
    The ending of the special privileges for the few;
    The preservation of civil liberties for all;
    The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and
    constantly rising standard of living.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    1. Any real/genuine opposition with a clear and simple campaign strategy would have destroyed the LP/ team p-noy myth by now

      -this will never happen because we, the Filipinos are satisfied with President Noy’s performance. Only in your dreams that GMA have succeeded PNoy in terms of government service.

      1. firstly, what has my comment got to do with GMA!
        secondly, most filipinos are not satisfied – i have the real figures – not the massaged ones.
        thirdly i think you need to learn the art of logic and debate.

        1. 1. It is just simple, GMA is part of the opposition, a loosing one.

          2. Survey shows GMA has negative rating while PNoy is still positive.

          3. It is your bitterness to PNoy that droves away your clear mind.

        2. 1. Meh. It’s just an assumption. All crap and no substance.

          2. Surveys are BIASED and even manipulated. Fact is that they are mostly owned by Aquino’s friends and allies.

          3. It’s not bitterness. It’s the harsh truth. Those who have clear minds are those who have critical thinking. Oh wait, you didn’t have that one. 😛

        3. “Survey shows GMA has negative rating while PNoy is still positive.”

          It’s very obvious that you are shooting yourself in the foot for believing on stupid surveys because it’s far more important for you rather than your own, independent thinking. Or is it because wala ka lang utak para mag-isip nang maayos eh indio de trapo?

      2. Again with the GMA thing when it’s very obvious to anyone who is not blind and stupid that GMA is not even mentioned in Libertas’s comment. What an abysmal lack of original thinking, don’t you mouthpieces have anything new to add or is it too much to ask?

        1. If you will resort to name-calling try at least to disproved Libertas facts with your own first. I will not take names from one who is not worthy to lick my boots, worm!

      3. What does GMA have to do with this article? Sarap pala maging BALIW. Hindi ko alam iyon. 😛

        Man, you’re disillusioned. 🙁

        1. @eduardo:

          After all these years, I can’t believe that there are zombies lurking around.

          Fact: You’re more EVIL than I thought because ‘tsismis’ doesn’t make you a good person. XD

        2. @eduardo

          After all this time, YOU are still a stupid sack of shit. You still fail at trying to convince us about your president’s greatness.

      4. Your warped logic is that anyone who criticises the administration, or who expects higher standards from public servants must be pro-GMA!
        You are a sad case, but at least you make a good case for not supporting p-noy/LP, even if you are not bright enough to understand why. Thanks for that.

        Or if you are a man, not a cybermouse, show your passion, conviction, and knowledge, and refute the points in a clear, concise and concrete manner.

        It seems , like p-noy, once challenged/confronted with the truth then it is a case of hiding under the desk. No backbone.

      5. Talking about surveys in Philippines, there was once a survey that 40% Filipino adults believed that Cupid is a real person.

        Why can’t those who are making a survey start it with this question –

        “Do you believe Cupid is a real person?”

        (40% is not just a statistical blip.)

        I can say with certainty that this is the crowd that eduardo is talking about.

      6. maka “WE” si eduardo wagas 🙂 dont compare GMA to Pinoy. He’s nothing compares to GMA’s achievement; when GMA visited here in KSA (2009) she’s so humble to bring the good news about the released of our distressed kababayan . She brings good news no sour grapping from previous administration (Erap) unlike your president.

    2. LP has been prominent for these past years right? If so then they have reached the point hubris and arrogance which comes to those who have too much influence and power.

        1. you reflect the simplicity and stupidity of your cult hero, and the black and white thinking which is clearly only capable of repeating motherhood statements and meaningless slogans and creating diversions in the absence of any real achievements.
          please educate and illucidate on all the achievements of the past 3 years relative to the points i raised – or it that beyond you –
          in which case better you get an education rather display your ignorance and waste the time of your betters

        2. You have also confirmed what is evident in the LP/team p-noy campaign.

          The central message, even after 3 years in power is – GMA was corrupt, p-noy isn’t. – (naturally without adding that most of those around him are as corrupt as ever, hence the puppet man strategy and the need to push p-noy when the focus and examination should be on the candidates themselves)

          Thats it! – No vision, no achievements, no plans, no creative thinking.

          guess this is all beyond the worker ants who troll for a bowl of rice

        3. Obviously, AbNoy BS Aquino is no good. He’s always needed help from his fanatic supporters (like yourself) and using all sorts of underhanded propaganda tactics just to persuade the masses that he is better than his predecessor—quite a pathetic approach!

          BS Aquino is far from the best and only answer to GMA. There are far better & more deserving public servants out there with the talent and integrity (real integrity, not just pretending like BS Aquino) if only given the chance. BS Aquino only thrives on showbiz, bitterness, and fixation over GMA—not healthy at all. Making it appear like a choice only between BS Aquino and GMA is fallacious at best—Between these two would simply be a choice between two evils—an unacceptable false dichotomy. There should be other far better ones out there.

  3. Libertas, di ba, yung FOI bill, sa sine de adjournment (June 3-6) or sa 16th congress ito pagbobotohan, at saka, FOI bill will truly and it is the only way to stop the corruption, incompetence, transgessioness, and fugitiveness in the Philippines, di ba?

  4. On the matter of substance in Philippine politics — it’s about time for Filipinos to shake off the inertia caused by non-performing senators and their relatives whose only claim to the position is the fact that their families have been entrenched for the last 20-30 years. Look at the likely picture that will emerge in the Senate after the elections if we allow the same personalities to be voted in. Imagine a membership that includes a father and a son (JPE and son Jack Enrile), two brothers (Jinggoy and JV Ejercito), a brother and a sister (Pia and Alan Peter Cayetano) who in turn got into the Senate on the death of their father, and two sons succeeding their fathers (Angara and Pimentel). Honestly, what can this new generation do that will be different from their parents? And who the heck gave them the monopoly on political smarts? Can no one else in a country of 100 million contribute fresh ideas apart from this concentration of trapos?

  5. Political campaigning has descended into legalised bribery, using money stolen from the electorate in the first place!

    From democracy to kleptocracy

    In a democracy you vote, and then are told what to do, – in a kleptocracy there is no point in even voting, you are going to get screwed one way or another.

    1. It’s times likes this that make want an absolute ruler. At least the absolute ruler is brutally honest about the fact that he/she calls the shots.

  6. careful what you wish for!
    that would be music to cojuangco and aquino’s ears.
    i think they would like a monarchy.
    instead they keep foisting their ridiculous offspring onto the nation.
    just wait until josh aquino is put into the ‘family business’ – braindead isn’t an obstacle clearly – just look at lito lapid, manny pacquaio et al

      1. Human awkwardness and emotional incontinence, combined with verbal diarrhea, intellectual incapacity and a personality malfunction seems prevalent within the aquino genome.
        A useful contribution to neuro-science research, maybe, but an example which supports the theory that inbreeding results in imbeciles.

  7. Ph debt rocketed last year to 5.4 trillion – 4 x national budget, and not even 1 infrastructure project!!
    some people in govt are getting very rich, very quickly.
    no wonder ochoa can afford to build a new 100 million peso mansion.
    and by all accounts 2 other cabinet secretaries have spent 60+ million each on property in the past year
    more funds in the philippines…government.
    they even outrank india for brazen theft of public funds.
    no wonder they are desperate to retain power and keep their misdeeds hidden for as long as possible
    p-noy et al are having a laugh – at voters expense

  8. I’ve been observing these malacanang trolls here. They are definitely keep getting more and more retarded each time they show their faces here since they’re still using that flimsy “blame gma” crap here.

  9. one topic of substance the electorate and media should focus on – i have heard no one ask yet – is the privatisation of hospitals by p-noy administration.
    not only will this mean even less access to healthcare for the poor, but it will also result in increasing prices and another monopoly business being created/cornered by the usual suspects and p-noys masters and contributers.
    the mass electorate would be up in arms if they knew what is happening but noone is telling them – not even UNA candidates.

  10. The mentality of the yellows is if your not on PNoy side them you are ProGMA. I think the problem with politica today is they are vengeful, they waste such good programs and ifrastructure that was initiated by who they preceded. They long term plan for development, if one started a program after he or she finish the term, they immidiately shut it down because they will say that the ones who will be popular is the one that started it. My grandfather said, the first 2 years of presidency, is where you makes ammends for the people who helped you, 1 year of rest, and the rest is for campaining for the future to secure the position of an ally or relatives. Look what happening now!

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