8 Things We Should Have Learned from the 2016 Campaign Period
by Tim Henares
With campaign season done, all that mattered in the end was marking the names of those we want to lead us for the next few years on the ballot (and hoping nothing untoward would happen when we exercised our right).
This campaign period was probably more heated than ever, especially thanks to social media being in full swing and a certain sense of urgency from most concerned citizens. These lead to aggressive campaigning for or against opponents, both online and even in real life. Never has the “r” word been more abused than it has been in 2016, thanks to the fact that at least two presidential candidates have fans with these questionable labels.
Now that the dust is settling, let’s take a look at the things we as a people have learned from the 2016 campaign period, aside from the most obvious: come May 10, we will have to deal with the aftermath of how we campaigned for and against our candidates. We will have to deal with our friends, family, and neighbors in “normal” conversation once again—if we didn’t already burn bridges with them in the first place.
Like this guy, who is clearly anything but a singer, yet keeps on singing, insisting non-voters shut up about the elections. Glass houses, dude.
8. That we are incredibly cynical.
Every little gaffe, every slip of the tongue, every questionable soundbite is pounced upon and twisted in the worst way possible. The doctrine of charity does not hold when it comes to the elections, and in showing how much we care about the well-being of the country these elections, we end up being pretty damned cynical of everything.
While this administration may not have been the best ever, the fact that people are now (mistakenly) clamoring for the Golden Age of Martial Law only goes to show that while we won freedom for ourselves, we sure as heck didn’t win that much wisdom to use our freedom as well as we should have. Needless to say, we expected too much from PNoy in 2010, and now, we are doing the same with whomever wins this May.
EDSA was never supposed to solve everything. EDSA is just a stretch of asphalt. It is ours. We have failed EDSA, and not the other way around.
7. We should learn to respect personal space both online and offline.
An old saying goes that in polite society, one should never talk about politics or religion. And when a person clearly does not want to have a discussion or a debate, then it would be in our best interests not to force an engagement. After all, do you really think you can convince someone to vote for your candidate of choice if you spent the last half-hour calling them names and insulting their intellect, all while they were minding their own business and eating a burger in Jollibee?
What I do when I see my Duterte and Roxas friends walking in my general direction.
May 9 is indeed a very important thing, but it’s not the only thing. Sometimes, we need to remember that, and just back off people and respect their choices if we can’t bring ourselves to engage without hostility.
6. We are sick of motherhood statements.
While all our candidates leave a lot to be desired, it is no longer enough for them to just leave us with slogans and catchphrases and motherhood statements, but no actual plan for action. Yes, that includes Duterte, who is happy to repurpose the plans of any of his opponents if he thinks they’re good. That is still a valid plan.
It is good that we now demand more from our potential leaders. It is good that we do not allow them to just get away with saying something without telling us how they intend to do it, even if for the most part, we are willing to gloss over obvious holes in their methodologies so long as we like them enough. Nonetheless, there is no way you can get elected without some semblance of a plan.
With one notable exception.
5. The value of celebrity endorsements is at an all-time low.
Perhaps the TV stations just want to keep their talents away from politics, but it seems that having a star-studded endorsement no longer holds any sway. While we are still firmly within the realm of personality and regionalist politics, it cannot be denied that we are slowly looking past celebrities now, because we recognize their political opinion holds about as much weight as ours, in the grand scheme of things.