Today, it’s the day of reckoning for candidates. They cross their fingers and hope for the best. On the other hand, the voters are ecstatic. They get to exercise their so-called sovereign rights (whatever that means to them.)
But bottom line: we all get the kind of leaders we all deserve (according to the eminent Thomas Jefferson.) Meaning, don’t blame others if we collectively choose the wrong leaders today.
So go ahead, “choose your wild!”
NO FUN—I was a candidate myself, for the first time in 1987, some 32 years ago and it’s no fun! Don’t ever think campaigning and getting votes is easy. It’s not!
But looking back, what candidates—and voters—have to deal with today have not changed much!
IT’S “PERSONAL”—Getting votes, especially in local politics is all personal. I used to do house to house (even “bedroom to bedroom”) handshaking and patting—not petting!—to get votes. Up the front door then out at the kitchen.
I did not have the means to do big rallies, so we would carry a small portable “karaoke” and stopped at every “tuba” and beer store where ordinary folks gathered. Of course, the inevitable “one shot” should not be declined every time someone would offer. Just be sure you dont get drunk early. And yes a few bottles or glasses of free drinks “on me” did the trick. Less cost compared to ads on TV and the tabloids.
I remember giving myself a daily target quota of at least 1,000 handshakes before calling it a day.
“UTANG NA LOOB”—Let’s admit it: “utang na loob” is a big factor. Never mind one’s qualifications. It can be past favors or giving cash doleouts. Better being “approachable” or “maka masa” (and not the elite-looking). Bottom-line for the voting “masa” is for them to feel you are “one of them”.
THE PRESS—There’s now a-brewing in the media circles on this issue about alleged violations of press freedom. Some media persons protest being banned by Malacanang to cover events. And some media groups are now going to the courts over alleged violations of press freedom.
Ultimately, the courts will have to make that judgment call whether press freedom is indeed abridged or not by those rules. So let’s leave these to the Courts to work on.
FOURTH ESTATE—It’s an interesting issue worth watching since it will somehow define media’s role as the so-called FOURTH ESTATE. This postulates that while government has THREE independent branches (executive, legislative & judiciary) that are co- equal and independent from each other, the press is mythically the FOURTH branch as it is supposed to operate independently and without interference from government, but subject only to existing and prevailing laws.
Let’s watch how this will spin further and ultimately end.
CHOOSING “DRIVERS”—I’ll be candid. I’ll vote for those whom I think can help the President bring about reforms. He has only 3 more years left and he still needs full support to bring about a better nation for all. Remember we are not only voting for persons (they come and go) but for substantive societal reforms.
Elections now are merely viewed as choosing “drivers” to run the wheels of government.
But we must also see how these drivers must and can help “overhaul” the government’s engine for our nation’s smooth ride to the future.