By Elizabeth Angsioco | Posted on September 08, 2012 @ Manila Standard Today
“We get the leaders we deserve”.
This is often heard when people complain about government officials who perform below expectations. Always, I get irked because really, the people deserve the best possible public officials. But then, there is some truth to the statement because after all, we put these people there.
Such is democracy. Right or wrong, fit or unfit, deserving or not, candidates garnering the highest number of votes in elections are rewarded the positions they aspired for.
Democracy is a game of numbers.
And there are many ways to get the numbers: popularity, money, cheating, charisma, goons, and a political lineage are proven by past elections as effective, though not necessarily good for the people.
I only have one vote. Each one of us has one each. But these votes, if properly used can change things, even move mountains, so to speak.
Our mistakes in previous elections should no longer be repeated in 2013 and beyond.
My one vote will be used. Voting is not only a right, it is equally my responsibility. My vote is my voice to effect the kind of change I would like to see in my country. Therefore, I will ensure that I am a duly registered voter. Registering is the first crucial step to exercise this right and fulfill this responsibility.
My one vote will be used wisely. I will scrutinize candidates. I will grade them according to their competence, track record, and integrity. I will check candidates’ involvement in and positions on issues that are close to my heart. I will be better convinced by actions, not simply words.
I will look for candidates’ possible links with scandals and controversies. I will only entrust my vote to those with unquestioned integrity.
Popularity will not sway me to vote one way or another. I have had enough of politicians making a mockery of our public institutions by turning it into a comedy, a church, or a stage to practice their acting craft.
My one vote will not be sold. No amount of money can equal the importance of my vote. Those who buy votes will surely collect in more ways if they win. Selling my vote is prostituting myself. It is jeopardizing the future of my loved ones. It is a betrayal of my country’s heroes who gave their lives up so I may have this sacred right.
My one vote will go to programs rather than personalities. A candidate’s program of government is the single most important paper that I will look for. This will enable me to know if candidates are serious in effecting change, or if they merely bluff their way around.
A platform, a plan or roadmap for change is crucial for me. I will not go for candidates who will take chance, or play hit or miss with my children’s and my granddaughter’s future.
My one vote will go to progressives. I will look for candidates who will fight the status quo that reinforce the existing class, gender, and other divides that result in discrimination and inequities.
Real and significant change can only be had with leaders who pursue new ideas, think out of the box, and go against traditions, ideologies, and manners of doing that violate human rights of people. I will support candidates who will proudly stand on a platform of equality and equity.
My one vote will go against political dynasties. No one family has the monopoly of good intentions and capacities to do good for the country. The search for the best, the brightest, and the most competent cannot be limited to the known political families. It is impossible that a population of 100 million will be short of deserving people to be in government.
The net should be cast wide. Enough of rehashed, repackaged politicians and political butterflies who are only after protecting their own vested interests. Enough of treating government service as a family enterprise.
Political dynasties breed patronage politics. If we want a new brand of politics, dynasties should end.
My one vote is a vote for political will. We need public officials who will fight for the people’s interest despite opposition from those who want to retain the status quo. We need brave ones who will invest political capital on controversial but crucial programs and legislation that will redound to the good of the majority of the Filipino people.
Political will is a test of leadership and with more in government having this, we can say goodbye to political horse trading at the expense of the people.
My one vote is a vote for substantive CHANGE.
An enlightened and politically mature electorate is our Motherland’s most important vehicle to real progress. Let us be this for 2013.
firstname.lastname@example.org and @bethangsioco on Twitter