For Freedom or Fear?
Election campaign has started weeks ago. Posters, leaflets, brochures, banners, tarpaulins, tv commercial and radio ad, newsprint ads and all kinds of campaign materials and strategies are up. Of course, the event organizers from different parties have lined-up their political assemblies in the different localities to present and explain their platforms and promises. Undeniably, the following months prior to the election day are the most rigorous moments for them as this will (help) determine their chances of winning for the most coveted seat(s) in the country.
Statistically, the surveys have shown the fluctuating rates of each candidate especially in the presidential bid. Though, one must note, that, if the election was done on the date the survey was conducted, we have a new president. On the other hand, what is alarming is the “fluctuating rate” which signifies the erratic decision of the voters, which make us think: what are the underlying motivations of the voters? What made the voter change his/her mind from one candidate to another in a 1 or 2 weeks’ time? What drives the voter to vote? Is the choosing of candidates based from freedom or fear? How many of us are truly free or are living in the shadow of fear during this period?
Our country’s political lifestyle has its own culture. The upper class may not agree but it’s definitely real down there in the grassroots. Vote-buying have many faces, it’s not only limited to monetary issues. Vote-buying can also be vote-bullying where people are being threatened. It can also be “utang na loob” as the value has been given or rendered. Vote-buying can also be likened to the “padreno” system or a biased electorate from the family’s political dynasty image. Or worst of all, vote-buying can be a one-law-rule in the family, or when people tend to forget the past and just live in the present, sadly, it can be vote-buying too. The inability to stand for what change demands is another form. There can be more to this as this is not a taboo.
Faced with such challenges, how do we keep the worth of May 9? How do we hand the value of suffrage to the generation that will come after us? 80 days from now we will be either in one of the public schools or malls proudly claiming our right for suffrage. Nevertheless, these days may also be our chance to look within us and assert our right to freedom. A freedom stained not by any corrupt culture we are in, rather, a freedom that mirrors to our leaders on how they should govern a country, whose electorate has voted them in utmost freedom, not tainted with fear.
Even as the world, or the Philippines has entered into the 21st century, our suffrage remains inviolate and indispensable, a mark of a genuine election day. There can be no real transformation in our government unless we begin from within. Unless our suffrage is freed from the culture we are in, we live in shadows. Keep in mind others have risked their lives to keep your vote safe.
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