democracy is no spectator sport

Two, confessions. One: I did not vote. Two: I regret it.

Sayang. Now I’m going to make sure that on May 15, 2010 I’m going to have a dirty finger to raise. Of course I’m not saying that my one single teenie weenie itsy bitsy vote would matter much in the mathemetical aggregate of my wouuld be candidates, but of course that’s not the issue. But to be honest, that has been an issue for me, the quantitative irrelevance of my vote in the final count. I remember one time, maybe in my early years in college, I was listening to NU, (I was a fanatic listener then), and it was Papa Dom’s Dread at the Control. I remember him saying, in his deadpan graveyard tone, that he never did cast a single ballot in his entire lifetime, and he never will. He was abstaining because he does not believe in the system. Well of course I imitated him. Astig eh. Papa Dom yun mehn. Siyempre tanga, gaya-gaya na lang.

Tae, mali pala. Kailangan at importante palang bumoto. Siyempre di lang epiphanic intervention yun, naapreciate ko yung importansiya ng boto sa pagtutok sa mga pangyayari sa mga paligid. Apathetic kasi ako dati, walang pakialam. Yun yun eh. Mahirap kasing magets ang importansiya ng isang boto kung walang konteksto sa mga pangyayari.

Hmmm. Maybe you couldn’t blame people for being apathetic. It’s hard to love our government, and as they say, indifference is the opposite of love, not hate, hence the prevailing apathy. But I think the fact that our country is so messed up should give us more reason to vote, to participate, to be actually involved. Sabi nga ni Wolverine sa X-Men 1, “The whole world’s going to hell, you gonna just sit there?”

I think that the sweeping disenchantment of many Filipinos towards elections is also symptomatic of the historical shorsightedness that has long been diagnosed to us Filipinos. Bunga rin siya ng kakulangan sa historical value ng suffrage. Dami na rin kasi namatay para lang makaboto tayo, at hassle naman kung di natin gagamitin yung pribelihiyong ‘yun. At isa pa, sigurado ako maraming taong mula sa ibang bansa na more than willing na makipagpalit ng puwesto satin para lang maexperience makaboto. Yung mga bansang di kelan man nakatikim ng demokrasya, yung mga di pinapayagan magsalita yung mga tao, yung mga pinapatay en masse ang mga komunidad pag natripan lang nung mga pangulo. Marami yun. Nandiyan ang North Korea ng hibang na si Kim Jong Il kung saan naroon ang pinakamalalang rekord ng human rights sa mundo. Puwede rin siguro yung mga bansa sa Africa, gaya ng Sudan, Gambia, Zimbabwe kung saan kung hindi nauubos sa mga patayan yung mga tao, sa sakit naman sila tumutumba. Point is, okay pa rin naman ang Pinas. Kahit na kupal kadalasan yung mga may kapangyarihan, may mga bagay pa rin tayong dapat pagsalamatan. Isa dun siyempre yung pribelehiyo ng pagboto.

Of courseness, this country is messed up. Many people are whining, but would our country be any better by our non-participation in the electoral process? To say that our vote is an insignificant drop in the bucket is entirely missing the point. It’s a grossly myopic perspective that will get us nowhere. Sabi nga ni Don, It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Of course a single vote would not matter much in the final tally, that’s impossible (almost). But that’s democracy, and last time I checked, that’s our government. A government where the majority rules, (or sort of. hehe) And that’s something we should be thankful for.

Isang bagay pa. Bakit maraming pinapatay na peryodista? Siyempre maraming rason dun. Pero isa na dun eh pag may nakakabangga silang mga bigtime politikong kumag. Isa sa mga tungkulin ng mga peryodista ang bigyan kaalaman ang taumbayan sa samu’t-saring mga pangyayari para in turn, makagawa ng mas makabuluhang desisyon ang madlang pipol. Siyempre importante ang isang malayang pamamahayag sa demokrasya kasi kung wala nun, pano ka pa boboto ng may saysay, ng tama? At yung mga napatay sa mga peryodista, ilan sa kanila napatay habang ginagawa yung responsibilidad nilang yun. Ngayon, kung pag wawalang bahala natin ang isang boto natin, di ba pagsasawalang-bahala rin yun sa mga dugo’t pawis na nilaan nung mga peryodistang yun? Parang nawalang saysay ang sakripisyo nila.

Ayun, maraming repurcussions ang pagboto. Di lang din naman kasi siya parang manna sa old testament na biglang bumagsak sa mesa para kainin. Bunga rin siya ng mahabang taon na pagsisikap ng mga ating minamahal na ninuno.

Our one single vote may not bring a deus ex machina that would fix in old bold stroke our fucked-up country, or be the sword that would slice through the Gordian Knot, that’s asking too much and criminally messianic. But it’s just like in EDSA 1. I don’t think that people around that time were concerned of the numerical significance of their presence in the demonstration. They just went there because it was a duty and the right thing to do. They were all faced with a choice then, and they chose. Should we wait yet again for another dictatorship that would claim the lives of many just to know the value of participation?

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