Friday, May 07, 2010

Public Service Announcement: I've Got Your Mandate Right Here

For those of you who haven't been in touch with Philippine politics lately, here's a sobering reminder:

It has been nine months since I wrote this entry about the elections, and since then my attitude towards Philippine politics has changed. I'm still excited about voting in my first election EVER, but the rose-colored glasses have gotten quite foggy since then.

I'm tired of getting platitudes as answers when I ask for specifics. I'm tired of the promises, the nostalgia, the cheesy TV ads and the cheesier campaign jingles. I'm tired of the annoying ads on the side of my Facebook page trying to get my goat with ominous headlines about "The Truth About Candidate X." I'm tired of the way that many voters have started acting petulant and bratty whenever somebody offers up a legitimate criticism of their candidate.

Let's face it, folks: I'm not exactly jumping for joy over any of our current presidential candidates here in the Philippines. And yet, there is absolutely nothing and no one that can get me away from my voting precinct on May 10.  

Let me repeat what I just said nine months ago to this day:
I may not have voted during those times, but I felt that I had to do something about my world - and writing my little letters-to-TPTB meant nothing if I only had my opinion to back me up. I may have been a "citizen of the world," but the Obama campaign taught me that real citizenship and civic duty meant taking responsibility for any decision that leads to change. My vote, after all, was my leverage as a citizen - leverage that I can wield, not just to support my leader, but to hold my own government accountable for any mistakes made in leadership... regardless of who wins, or whoever rises to power eventually.

No matter who ends up winning the whole shebang, we can't expect all of our leaders to be messiahs, because they're human and therefore bound to disappoint us in the long run. There's also no way that we can ask them to change just by marching on the streets and throwing coups d'etat over every single damn misunderstanding that we have with our government.

Like I've said before, voting is more than just being the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. The beauty of voting comes from the fact that you can exercise your duty in the way you want to do it, for as long as your conscience remains clean.

And remember:

Have a grand weekend, everybody.

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