Election Day approaches. Question is So what? It’s a big deal only as far as the Media and a handful of ‘social media practitioners’ say it is. Other than that what is really at stake for the ordinary Pinoy schmoe?
In support of one manok or another, some “experts” will warn the average voter to vote “wisely” and be conscious of “confirmation biases” that may be dull one’s objective judgement. Unforunately, the bigger meta confirmation bias that is at work in this extravaganza of shrewdly-managed persuasion and promotion cleverly packaged as an exercise of one’s “freedom” is the illusion that differences between one candidate over another are that significant. The reality is a bit more banal — all of them are the same.
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Fact is, politicians will say anything to get elected. Money talks the loudest and motivates the hardest. With the amounts of money being poured into election winning machines, there can be no room for the consistency of sound principles. The moronism in the campaign rhetoric spewing from one politician’s mouth or another becomes self-evident when one regards what any decent parent already knows and strives to imbibe in their children:
The popularity of an idea is not an accurate indicator of its validity.
But then, see, elections are all about selecting the popular. As such, politicians will move heaven and earth (and even literally kill) to be popular. At the very least, they will lie and, as such, everything a politician and their armies of spindoctors, mouthpieces, and cheering squads will say is suspect. Indeed, we know this is true because a politician says so…
If we acquit the Chief Justice, we would tragically lift the floodgate for public suspicion and widespread distrust on the highest institution of our judicial system. We also lower the bar of public accountability of government officials.
This, ironically, is Senator Loren Legarda pontificating about lofty notions like “accountability” in early 2012 during the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona who stood accused of concealing allegedly “ill-gotten” wealth and failing to declare his overseas property holdings. Funnily, Legarda is now embroiled in controversy after it was revealed by “self-styled public interest advocate” Louis Biraogo that she is owner of a posh Manhattan condominum worth USD700,000…
Biraogo said the documents proved that the reelectionist senator, who is leading in most surveys in the midterm elections, paid the â€œprincely priceâ€ of $700,000 (about P36 million based on the 2006 exchange rate) for the condo unit at 77 Park Avenue.
He described the location as a â€œvery expensive area in New York City where the Rockefellers and Trumps also have properties.â€
Documents provided by Biraogo showed that Legarda bought the 708-square foot single-residential condominium unit 10-B from a certain Frank Feinberg of Wall Street, Seattle, Washington, on May 9, 2006, for $700,000.
But the SALN she filed in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 did not include the lot under her real property assets.
True? False? Who cares? The point is, no politician and no claim to goodness coming from any one of them is immune from being suspect.
Another of those oxymorons that infest the discourse of laughable electioneering and sloganeering is the presence of communists in legitimate democratic exercises like these elections. What would a bunch of people who subscribe to an obsolete ideology that sees the necessarily violent overthrow of the government as its absolute and non-negotiable goal be doing schmoozing with the “allies” they’ve made in the political mainstream? They are even using the consumerist technologies of their “reactionary” enemies to schmooze with their constituencies! Que horror, comrade!
As with everything, it is all suspect.
And so what if it is all suspect? Well, there is no recourse but to be suspicious — specially in a society such as the Philippines where, in general, nobody really trusts anybody to begin with. Because from suspicion comes the will to investigate and evaluate with a critical mind as a matter of habit.
Do Filipinos apply a habit of thinking before doing?
This is really the only real question one must ask one’s self in these times of Fiesta Election. It is not a question of who to vote for (for that matter, that is none of anyone’s business other than yours). It is not a question of who has or does not have a “platform”. It is not a question of which celebrity endorses who, or what two-word slogan one or another idiot “activist” holds up in a placard. Real wisdom and insight only comes from one place — your mind. And it takes hard work and years of training (not necessarily from school) to hone one’s ability to deliver real world-class thinking.
A society that breeds enormous numbers of offspring then sends them overseas by the battalion to earn dollars that are then spent on imported Chinese trinkets then calls all of that “prosperity” cannot be considered truly progressive. In the same manner, an electorate that delegates their thinking wholesale to persuasion artists in the payroll (or under the spell) of the very people who are trying to attract their votes cannot be trusted with the reins of democratic power.
Elections is only one step in a holistic democratic process that requires intelligent participation at every step.
So be wary of people who will insist that one candidate is more important than the other or that an election is the most important thing or “issue” in the chattersphere. Truth is, neither is true. Those who say so have taken the whole thing out of the context of what it means to be a holistically democratic people.
[Photo coutesy Financial Times.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.