Election Day. It’s a day that always brings about the hope for change. The hope that a country could be better. It brings about the belief that we have the power to choose. That we can make a difference. That every single citizen of a democratic country matters. That we have a voice. That we could be heard.
This past election, however, got me thinking. How true is that anyway? How much power–how much choice–do we, the people, have? Do we actually have a choice, or are we simply forced to choose between candidates we had no hand in actually choosing? Do our votes actually matter? Does waiting in line, under the glaring sun, with our sweats on our backs and our brows, readying ourselves to vote…does it actually change anything?
I actually have no idea. I don’t have an accurate or concrete answer. I don’t even have an answer that would pass more than just a rant. And that’s what I actually feel like doing. Ranting.
This country feels like a train about to get wrecked, or derailed. I mean, just look at what we have for elected officials: jueteng lords, drug lords, movie stars, people who still have pending cases for murder, people who have pending cases on graft and corruption, and people who think that 20 years of on-the-job training is enough of an experience for the upper house. Seriously, what the heck? It’s laughably sad and a bit humiliating that we, the Filipino people, actually chose them to lead our country! Do we actually have any idea where we are going as a people? As a country? I actually don’t.
The people who can actually make a change? A small fraction of them got elected. Some of them are trailing the pack and have no hope of being proclaimed winners unless a deus ex machina suddenly comes into play. Because, that’s all we can actually hope for. A miracle. Many of them couldn’t even run, or chose not to, knowing that there was not a chance in this world that they’d get elected. Not if political dynasties have a say in it. Not if you would have to pay people for you to win. Not if, in-exchange for your wholehearted desire and sincerity to serve, would put you and your family in life threatening situations.
We desire change, yet we elected the same old leaders to guide us and hope and pray, and hope some more, that this time will be different. This time will be better. But how many times have we thought that way, voting for these people over and over again? This is actually the reason why I didn’t vote any of the senators who were hoping for another round at the senate. It’s the reason why I didn’t even fill all twelve spots. I only chose six .
And then we have these candidates, most of them now proclaimed winners of the elections, who talk about the straight and narrow road, the road to change, to a better and brighter tomorrow. People who talk about good governance, smile at the people and say that they could come to them if they need help. Coax them into believing that what they say is true when most of them are actually just sheep in a wolf’s clothing. Voters don’t get to see them behind the scenes–what they actually do, how they actually interact. They only see them during campaign periods. They only see what these people want them to see.
But that’s not all. Let’s not forget about the laughably, crazy, stupid, and completely idiotic legal solution to the conundrum of a tied vote. A toss coin. A freaking toss coin decides which direction a local government–heck, even a national government–will take. A freaking toss coin that makes it seem like our votes don’t count. And after all that hulabaloo about voting wisely, too. How more backwards can that be? It’s like one big joke. A joke that isn’t even funny.
I can see why a lot of people chose not to vote this time around, here or overseas. And I can’t help but feel the same sentiment they are feeling. It’s not hopelessness. It’s sadness. It’s the inevitability of disappointment. The inevitability that nothing will change. That at the end of the day the promises most of these politicians made are just that: promises. Empty, unfulfilled promises used to get what they want.
I suppose this shows how much–or maybe how little–I think about politics now in this country. But I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way. Not when despite the growing economy, people still don’t feel any different. The poor are still poor. The helpless still helpless. Those in power remain clinging to their power–the fame, the fortune, and all the benefits that come with the title.
Sure most of them say they want to help the people. They are all in it for the poor. I know there are politicians who sincerely do what they can to help, to alleviate the sufferings of those who have less. Most of them are movie stars or some other famous person. But do they seriously need to run in congress? Do they seriously need to be in the senate to help? To make a difference? I don’t really believe that to be true. There are a lot of us, a lot of ordinary folks who help others without the need for a political position. There are people who help the poor who only care about helping and who are happy enough to see the thankful smiles of the people as their reward.
There’s a phrase that goes, “We get what we deserve”. As long as there are people–a majority of people–who are willing to sell their votes, who vote for the name and not for the quality of service that would be provided; as long as people don’t think and as long as we keep on choosing our leaders poorly; as long as those running for office keep using the poor instead of helping them, as long as they come into the foray with their lust for power, fame, and fortune, then our country really doesn’t deserve the best leadership that could be offered. It’s sad really. And heartbreaking.
But, what’s done is done. The votes had been cast and counted. All we can do really is hope that the majority of us made the right decision. And hope that we have at least become wiser now than we have been before.
I don’t mind if I end up being wrong about this. I actually hope that I am. I hope I’m proven wrong. Because if I am right about a number of these people who really are not meant to be leaders, then our country is really is like a train waiting to be derailed.