Election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government that represents all of us and not just the one percent — a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial, and environmental justice — that struggle continues.
— US senator Bernie Sanders
ACCORDING to American pundit John Calvin Thomas, “one of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective — election and power are.”
This is probably why most of our politicians only think about how to stay in power by winning an election after election or else putting someone to replace himself by either a family member or else a close associate.
But is it not that elections are held in order for the people to choose the leaders they want to lead them into a better and brighter future. This is democracy and democracy, we realize, is not just an election but is our daily life. Yet, it saddens us that most of our present politicians think more of the next election—so much different from a statesman whose view and concept of leadership concerns the future of the next generation.
To this inspirational speaker, Simon Sinek agrees: “Leadership is not about the next election, it’s about the next generation.”
And the reason why our politicos are more concerned about reelection is the fact that they want continuity in their endeavors because they believe that if the person who succeeds him is not kin or close friend, then any project he had started and is unfinished would surely be shelved and discontinued by his successor.
This perhaps is considered reasonable to a chosen few whose leadership is steered towards the betterment of the country and the constituency and not for an egoistic quest for self-aggrandizement or the wilful desire to amass material rewards simply because one is in power and has easy access in acquiring wealth and riches.
But apart from those who want to see their endeavors completed and not go to waste, there are also politicos who fear they would be made to face the consequences of the infractions they committed during their incumbency as a leader. These elected officials have the likes of past personalities who were ridiculed, jailed, exiled, or even executed in some extreme cases.
Still, either way, our politicians have one singular intention when it comes to the electorate’s right to suffrage, and that is to either nail it and see themselves in position or else get back power through whatever means they have available. And here in the Philippines, there are a zillion ways to make this possible and a certainty.
Among us Filipinos, however, the fact is that there is so much truth in what the late Soviet premier Josef Stalin once said: “It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
When this happens, though, who do we blame—the politicians who bribe their way into public office by using goons, guns, and gold or the voters who allow themselves to be bought, bribed, and duped by promises easily forgotten by those who gave them?
In my mind, I blame the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for this untenable situation. Elections are about choosing the right leaders but what choice do we have when only the moneyed are allowed to run?