Thursday, April 28, 2016

Why protest votes harm us instead of help us change Filipino society

Let's reason together--are we going to vote for someone just because we are sick and tired of what is happening in our country? Honestly, we have been doing exactly just that when our parents trooped to the snap elections of 1985 to oust a dictator. After Cory, his successor, bungled the most tiring task of societal re-construction, we, again, voted as a people and elected a general, former president Fidel Valdez Ramos, Win the slimmest of margins, thinking that, we need someone, a member of the military to rule us. Six years passed, and, in another show of emotionalism, we did not support the recommended successor of Ramos, and instead trained our attention to a former actor-mayor-senator-vice president whose popularity made him win against his closest competitor by 40%

Of course, we know what happened next--the most popular president out of office after just nearly three years. Why? Because we thought then that he was an embarrassment-- Estrada was a night person who reportedly decides on state matters with his drinking buddies. Not only that--Estrada reminded us of the conduct of the former dictator whom the people ousted in 1986. Memories of that glorious day prompted us to go to the streets and demand a better president. And we know what happened next.

The one who replaced Estrada, a former professor turned senator, looked like she was the one we needed. After the initial euphoria, we realized that she was actually worse than Erap. And for nine long years, we witnessed the systematic transformation of our bureaucracy into a big louse of a syndicate, controlled by various oligarchic families out to make a fast buck out of all of us. Taxes rose, food prices soared and basic services became extremely unbearable. We suffered back then.

That became the reason for our electing a senator whose 10-year record as a legislator was, at best, good enough. We know he's kinda weird looking, with some of us even doubting why he remains a fiftish bachelor and doubted even more if he's capable of managing crisis situations, especially when we read his psych record. We threw caution out of the window, and elected him instead of a big-time billionaire who had an impressive record as a politician cum businessman.

Look at our 30 year record---in every election, we, the Filipino voter, troop to our polling precincts and voted out of rage. From that fateful 1985 snap elections to 2010, we elected presidents based on what we feel--not what is rational and what is needed for the times.

That explains why Jovy Salonga, the most intelligent and the most nationalist of all senators, lost the 1992 elections and former defense secretary Renato de Villa did not get elected in 1998. The votes which we gave to Ramos, Erap and Pnoy were all made while we were angry.

Haven't we learned from our parents never to decide when we are angry? Experience tells us that when we do such things, the outcome is far less than expected.

2016 elections is a crucial watershed of our History. We don't need to be emotional this time. Doing so would bring us back to the Middle Ages and would worsen our already worsening situation.

Before we vote, let's do a quick check and see where these candidates stand on several sensitive issues. After doing so, let's then, fact check their respective backgrounds. Check who are these people behind this and that candidate, and further check their backgrounds. Are they former government officials? How many of them are facing graft cases? Who are these businessmen backing the candidate up?

I remember one expert sage saying that " the wisdom of the mob is at best, faulty."  We are being made to believe that this and that candidate enjoys popular approval and as a matter of course, follow. No.

We know already that flavors of the mouth are always second best to traditional favorites. Matinee idols are flashes in the pan. At most, one-hit wonders of a singer is never remembered compared to those who already had a string of Top forties.