Election: Cohesion or division?

ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya - The Freeman

Elections in most countries attract enormous public attention. These political exercises constitute the heart of the democratic order. And so the selection of political leaders by the people represents the very basis of the rule of the people.

And no wonder that discussions about the election on the social media are ever-present especially as it provides a no-nonsense and convenient vehicle to voice out one's views and opinions. On this political season, the Internet is a very potent avenue for the greater number whose access to this medium is tremendously advantageous.

Accusations and counter accusations are thrown at each other. What is not odd about it is the never-ending surge of emotions. Reading the thread of communication when one can respond to practically anywhere depending on one's appeal to a certain comment. The thread lists down to the last comment and is still deficient as you can also read several replies to in between comments. It is as if reading strings of responses.

In rural areas, politics has become very divisive. Many families and relatives, whose normal cordial relationships in the past have become strained because of disagreeing stands and party affiliations. And expect that such extent of relationship would drag and settle down only after months and even some years after the election.

Elections can also be a rallying point behind certain candidates whose platforms of government are sensible to the people's needs. Supporters rally behind them for certain indispensable advocacies. However, this can also be a source of division for some especially when they believe on some other things. This could create a temporary or even a long-term division among groups, friends and even among family members.

During election, it's very easy to excite and agitate people. It is when, sometimes, supporters won't anymore heed to reason but rather to emotion. They may weigh up options but would still be swayed by their blind patronage. It takes an intelligent supporter or voter to weight some options. This is unfortunately a common scenario, to some degree, in rural areas where their access to accurate information is oftentimes clouded by communication channels which can easily be tampered and does not anymore reach to the source in an accurate form.

What is even thought-provoking is that because of so much patronage, supporters are very much avid that they argue with so much intensity, in defense of their candidates who themselves are not so affected.

The intensity of the election fever would escalate especially when the big day is fast approaching. And in a country where supporters would fight until the end, one's defeat after the election becomes unbearably difficult to accept. The pride that is creeping into their system cannot just simply be eliminated in an instant.

And for the wise populace, it is another cycle of providing empty promises. Delivered in open spaces only to be vanished in thin air, these promises would form part of our people's frustrations. And for others it is already time when they can ask their leaders what they have accomplished vis-à-vis their promises previously delivered. And for some devious politicians, it is also the time to make some excuses and blame to some circumstances, imagined and unreal, that are after all within control. This is very much true especially when they have been in the power for decades and yet far from what the people have expected from the start.  Such scenario would provide these intelligent voters to seek for an alternative. But then again this is not a common situation in an area where there is a strong political lineage.

Election is an indispensable democratic process. As a process, it could be divisive or unifying. We may be divided in the course of action but in the end we all work for cohesion–another arduous and long way to go.

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