8 Self-Destructive Things Pinoys Do During Election Season
By Kel Fabie
It’s a great time to be alive and to be a Filipino, seeing how active and concerned Filipinos are about the elections. We have overturned every stone, unearthed every skeleton and uprooted every buried chest just to get the skinny on our candidates, and that’s actually far better than utter apathy.
Unfortunately, in our desire to make our country better by electing the leaders we believe are right for us, we make a few mistakes along the way that do us more harm than good. The kinds of mistakes we normally wouldn’t make if there were no elections to worry about.
Here are just 8 of these things, and for our sakes, when we catch ourselves falling prey to them, the best thing we can do is to take a step back and re-evaluate our priorities.
8.We forget about our friends.
Whoever we elect will become the representatives we will all have to live with for the next six years (for senators, at least)—and we will have to deal with the aftermath of how we treated our friends along the way whom we may not have seen eye to eye with politically.
When everyone is sworn in, was it really worth campaigning for them so ruthlessly that you ended up prioritizing your candidates, someone who probably will never even know your name, over the friendship you shared with someone who was against your candidates because he felt your candidates weren’t out for his best interests?
Maybe you should think about your gay friends and family before you tell them how wrong they are to get angry at a homophobic senatoriable next time.
“Let me, a straight person, tell you gay people why the guy who thinks you’re abominations isn’t a homophobe…”
7. We create echo chambers.
In our quest to find more information to push our candidate, we end up finding ourselves in communities that are like-minded, and anyone with a contrary opinion is considered pariah. We end up insulating ourselves from contrary opinions, and kill our ability to be critical thinkers.
The more we keep hearing how infallible our candidates are, the less likely we would be open to changing our minds when evidence to the contrary comes our way.
The only secret in this chamber is that nobody has a single original thought.
6. We fall prey to cognitive bias.
Amid cries against media that they’re all “bias,” most of us fall prey to our own biases. We turn a blind eye to anything bad about our candidates, and desperately want all the good things about them to be true, and we do the reverse for the ones we don’t like.
And when that cognitive bias comes into play, the people we care about all become just as expendable as the “facts” against our candidates are. But why should they?!? They’re people we care about!
Bias! Bias! Bias! Gotten it out of your system yet?
5. We browbeat to get our point across.
Do you really think you can convince someone to vote for your candidate if you open the conversation with, “you’re an idiot?” If you thought making other people feel bad about themselves would make them change their minds, the only opinion that would change is how big an a**hole they think you are.
“See? This proves how stupid and naive you are, you dimwit. Now, are you convinced that my candidate is awesome?”
4. We create imaginary enemies.
Us vs. Them. We find a way to vilify the opposition even if at the end of the day, these other people are our neighbors, and not monsters.
And when we have won the day, and we have nobody to share the victory with except our fellow campaign drones, what exactly did we win again?
Nothing, that’s what.
3. We set ourselves up for disappointment.
Believing in a candidate is one thing. Worshipping them is another.
King Tutankhamen had a weird pantheon and a kinky name.
If we pin our hopes and dreams on a candidate, that can never end well. Just ask the guys who thought our President would solve everything back in 2010. They certainly weren’t happy with the results.
2. We forget what really matters.
In the heat of wanting our candidate to win, all we can think of is “our candidate must win at all costs.” We forget why we want our candidate to win in the first place. At some point, we just hunker down, say, “ah, basta,” and keep on keeping on. Because we believe in our candidate so much, we forget what we were fighting for in the first place.
Because odds are, what we really were fighting for, were a set of values, and things we hold dear, and not just a single person, in the first place.
Metaphors are hard, but if your candidate no longer corresponds to your metaphor, then that candidate is no longer your candidate.
1. We forget ourselves.
“Negosyo o kalayaan? Bayan, o sarili,” asked the uber-patriotic and uncompromising Heneral Luna, and here we are asking ourselves the same thing.
But Luna is a certified nutjob, and there is no place for him in the modern day. And thus, we can choose to love our country without forgetting ourselves, without compromising our beliefs, our values, our friends, and those most important to us.
If we elect those we perceive to be the best candidates, but we lose everything that matters along the way, would it all have been worth it?
Got anything else to add? Sound off in the comments!