Cast for one
ESSENCE - Liagaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - May 16, 2019 - 12:00am

The recently-concluded midterm elections have once again manifested that democracy is working in our country. Yet very much evident is the bloc voting, and this could be in a family level, community or even in certain religious groups. There is still one dominant voice that would dictate and determine the plight of certain candidates. In the family, for instance, I remember my father, whose roots are from northern Luzon, was very influential in telling us to vote for a political clan whose ascendancy spans for decades. This despite the many controversies attributed to this clan’s government.

The community, basically composed of relatives, its voice can also influence in one way or the other. And as to where the stronger voice emanates from would determine the choices of the other members.

In the religious world, although the Catholic Church does not endorse specific candidates, issues guidelines as to who to vote for, some other religious groups are vocal in their support for certain candidates. One clear case is the bloc voting of the Iglesia ni Cristo. Ever since, every election, the members are very dependent on their leaders as to who they would vote for.  Such bloc voting has been done since the country first held its general elections in 1935.

Religious groups have traditions and expectations of authority. How strict a religion is, is meant their own desires on how individuals may pursue the stipulations or the principles, the convictions, yet the political decisions of their leaders.

The sect dependably considers order and solidarity among its members extremely important. For them, the Bible educates, for instance, that they ought to be joined with the leadership of the congregation, the executive minister of the church. They trust that as a prerequisite they ought to tail it. With the goal that's the place the discipline streams from.

But of course there are individuals who would opt for their personal choices. This means no amount of influence can dictate their preferences. Criteria are not imposed upon them. No one from the family can influence, not even from a certain organization or affinity, not even a religious sect can impose on them as they think they are not beholden to anybody or to any organization.

After all, this electoral process empowers a citizen to exercise such sacred duty that nobody can regard his vote as less powerful. It is a freedom of choice that devoid from any form of influence from powerful individuals or groups. Popular voice, after all, may or may not influence one as vote is considered a right and a personal choice.

The recent election is just like any other elections that had happened in the past, a popularity contest wherein those who have money and influence emerged victorious in the end. Unfortunately, the notion of “public office is a public trust” remains to be elusive in the consciousness of many.

But what shocked me is what was supposed to be the saving grace—the millennials, which I believe, in this year’s election, majority of the voters come from. Although they are oftentimes accused of being too lazy or self-absorbed, entitled brats, there’s still a lot of reasons to remain optimistic and hopeful on what they can do and contribute, there are still votes that for me, are exasperating, injudicious and therefore wasted.

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