While living in the United States, I often saw or heard radio and TV commercials concerning “Drunk Driving”. To this day I distinctly remember the commercials warning us about how drunk driving kills people and how choosing not to drink and drive can save lives.
Often the message would end with the reminder that: “The life you save may be your own”.
As we go to the polling places today, those very same words keep flashing on my mind like the buzzer in cars that tell you, that you have not put on your seat belt. Seat belts are not just mechanical restraints but also a reminder that you are now inside a vehicle and that wrong use of the vehicle can cause serious bodily injury.
In like manner, I suppose we all really need to spend five minutes alone, in prayer and in serious contemplation before we go out and vote, because whom we vote for can either take us to a great destination or lead us to an accident that can cause our society major injury.
Three elections later, many of us have learned not to vote for the non-existent candidate named “Mr. Wisely”. Although we have indeed learned how to vote “wisely”, we still need to learn the difference between “how to vote” and voting with “wisdom”.
Unlike elections a decade or so ago, we have learned to go earlier, we now know which precinct to look for or how to find the precinct. We even bring our own pens so no one can erase our writing, we bring a list of the people we are voting for so we don’t forget and spend too much time at the barangay.
Some go the extra mile of bringing acetone to quickly remove the indelible ink that ruin their manicure, others bring a flashlight to find their way in dark classrooms or halls.
But what we really need to do today before going to vote is to spend five minutes if not more, and ask ourselves questions about our character. We often debate about the character of many candidates and why we will or won’t vote for them. But what about “our” character, and how has it affected our decision in this election?
The sad fact of life is that we choose people who come close to our character or one we associate with and not necessarily someone who has the qualifications or sufficient knowledge of the position and office they are running for.
How seriously are you taking your vote? Many of us are actually going to travel some distance just to fulfill our duty. In Palawan this usually meant walking several kilometers to the nearest school. Personally, I’m driving back from Lipa, Batangas to Pasig to cast my vote.
Millions of “casual employees” will go for one day with no pay while performing their duty to vote. Beyond the physical effort and sacrifice, how seriously are you taking your vote?
The Barangay Captain you vote for will directly impact how clean and safe your Barangay will be.
The Mayor you vote for, will determine if your town or city will be a Drug Lord’s haven, a Jueteng Lord’s business complex, or a meat market of exploited young women.
On the other hand, the right mayor can put your town or city on the map as a tourist favorite, and investment haven or one of the top places to live in the Philippines.
Choosing a lawmaker, a legislator is about choosing a person who understands the beauty of the law, the life changing effects of laws and someone who understands the importance of institutionalizing services and process in society.
It’s not about someone who gives you projects; basketball courts, belongs to your club or your fraternity or comes from the same school. That’s about politicians not legislators.
Politicians are not lawmakers. Politicians are opportunistic, serve-me type of people whose interest is self-interest not service. They do not respect our institutions but instead they meddle into the affairs of state under the guise of “Investigations in-aid of legislation”.
Go back and review the handiwork of many politicians in the last “Congress” and then check how many of their “investigations” actually ended in prosecution and how many were about persecution.
At the same time ask your selves, how many times did you clap whenever they conducted those investigations? You rejoiced because you did not believe in our system, the courts, as well as the offices empowered to conduct the appropriate investigation. In fact many of us were too impatient and wanted blood at the Senate Arena.
To top it all, they now tell you that they deserve your vote because they got you good deals.
WAIT JUST ONE MINUTE.
Didn’t you vote for them because they promised to do what they did? Wasn’t that part of their job description? So why are they now acting like “WE OWE THEM” as in “Utang na loob”?
You see, it’s no different when they put up “sign boards” to tell us that the “new-“old” road was made through their efforts! To begin with, they were supposed to make laws not roads!
So today, we are duty bound to pay homage by election to the men and women who will demand we call them “Your Honor”. Today we choose whom to send to the Senate. Do we vote for the company of men who embody dignity, generosity and intellect like “Julius Caesar” or do we settle for the mob of politicians embodied by “Brutus”.
So just remember, if the people you vote for turn out to be idiots, thieves or performers…YOU voted for them.