Sunday, March 14, 2010

Upcoming Elections ... Future Elections

There has never been and there will never be a perfect candidate (presidential/senatorial/gubernatorial/etc.). Like an Amazing Race detour, each will have it's own pro's and con's. Camp A of loyal followers will always argue that Camp B is turning a blind eye to candidate B's shortcomings and ignoring candidate A's obvious merits.

I would like to believe that no one is intentionally blind or ignorant. We choose based on what we value and we do not always value the same things. One might value past accomplishments, another might value intelligence and another may value something else altogether. And based on past experience or information available to them, people who have the same values might not choose the same candidate!

So what is the point of this essay? Personally, it's me thinking out loud, figuring out what I can do to help. And maybe this is already part of what I can do - to remind, to challenge, to get people to start thinking about what they can do. Here are some points:

Respect each other. Each of us have the right to choose. We can debate and present arguments in favor of the candidate we support but we shouldn't force our choice on others. What are we doing to give all candidates equal opportunity to present his/her case?

Keep the electoral process clean. Let's do our part to make the elections results unquestionable. What are we doing to free our fellow countrymen from the temptation to sell their votes? How are we ensuring that there will NOT be a failure of elections?

Accept the winners and the losers. After the results are announced - Surprise! There will be candidates who did not win. It can be candidate A... or candidate B... or candidate C... it can be any of them. There may be polls that reveal a particular candidate's popularity over another but the polls don't count. At the end of the day, what's counted and what counts are the votes.

And most importantly,

[ALL of us should] Fulfill our duties as patriotic and law-abiding citizens. Tuparin natin ang ating mga tungkulin bilang mamamayang makabayan at masunurin sa batas. We must not just depend on one person (i.e. the president) à la Bernardo Carpio to lift us out of poverty or fight corruption or improve the education system. The president and other leaders, as patriotic and law-abiding citizens, should fulfill their duties BUT we also need to fulfill our duties as citizens. After all, voting is only one of many rights - and duties - that we have as Filipino citizens. Are we putting systematic checks and balances in place so that no one can be above the law?

This will only work when all of us do it TOGETHER. The future does not only depend on the youth. It depends on all of us, including the youth, including you... and me.

In our national anthem we sing that it is our joy to die for the Philippines when it is being oppressed (Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi, Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo). We're not being asked to die but what are we doing to free our country from the oppression of poverty and corruption?

The winner of the upcoming and future elections will matter - so always vote wisely.
But what happens during periods in between elections matter too...