4. You’re not really moving to another country if _____ were elected.
“If Binay wins, I’m going to America.” ORLY? We’ve had nightmare scenarios since elections have been there. Remember when hardline Catholics wanted us to not vote for Fidel Ramos because he was Protestant and he was supposedly going to round up all the Catholics and force them to convert? What a laugh. Sometimes, we let our fears get the best of us, and that’s when we do things we otherwise wouldn’t have done – and regret them afterwards.
It’s Still Important Because: There’s a fine line between vigilance and paranoia, and while we cross the line a lot, it’s better to be somewhere near that line, than far from it. Yes, the nightmare scenarios generally never happen. That doesn’t mean we should let them have every opportunity to make it real, either. If you feel that Grace Poe being sorta American isn’t all that bad compared to incompetence or a cancer scare or corruption allegations or human rights violation allegations, then Grace is your woman. That’s fine.
3. It could always be worse.
“PNoy was the worst president ever,” said the guy who was never detained and had his testicles electrocuted during Martial Law. Of course we would say that. This is what we’re living through right now, and nostalgia tends to give us rose-colored glasses of administrations past. Imagine how long it would take before some people start wishing PNoy were back because the next president, in their mind, was even worse.
But it could always be worse! Doesn’t that explain why we’re trying to find the “alternative” right now?
It’s Still Important Because: It could be worse. But it could also be better. And it’s up to us to make the latter happen by voting for the best person. If you think Miriam is the person who can help make it better, then by all means, go for it!
2. Real change should emanate from within, not from on high.
We keep asking for change. In varying degrees, every candidate is promising some form of that. Yes, even Roxas. The problem with this, though, is that we keep pinning our hopes on one person as if that person is some kind of wizard who will make things magically better.
Newsflash: it’s not gonna happen. The change a Duterte requires of us is useless if it’s from on high. The change a Roxas administration expects will falter if the constituency is even less matuwid than the leadership already is. Any change that is enforced from on high instead of internalized has historically resulted in a lot of resistance, and if that’s the case, six years will never be enough to achieve anything of consequence. And therein lies the notion of increments, yet again. We want change now. We can’t deal with having divorce first, then gay unions, then gay marriage. We want the whole enchilada right here, right now. And I get that. But if you can fight for the increment, is that not a step in the right direction, rather than an all or nothing gambit resulting in, well, nothing?
It’s Still Important Because: Change from on high has its purposes, but its fulfillment doesn’t come without change from within. That being said, there are just some things we need to get over and done with because it’s frigging 2016, and making sure that this secular government is indeed secular enough to accommodate the needs of those who don’t go along with the religious majority.
1. How we act on a daily basis is the real vote we’ve been making all this time.
We can say that we want change and we want discipline, but whenever we offer a bribe, we jaywalk, we litter on the street, our actions speak far louder than our words.
We can say that we want zero tolerance against crime, yet whenever we argue our way out of a traffic ticket we clearly deserved, we prove that we only like people who are tough against crime so long as that toughness is never aimed in our direction.
Every little choice we make on a daily basis is what gives these politicians the gall and the nerve to run for public office even if we know they’re corrupt or incompetent or woefully lacking in leadership quality. Every little choice we make affirms that some of us aren’t as corrupt as others, only because we don’t have the same opportunities they have. And then when some of us inevitably run for public office to show them how it’s done, we end up being more of the same, in the end.
The day we vote is just one day. But every single day, we make our own votes. And they count more heavily for the changes you want or don’t want.