5/13/2019
And you claim to believe in democracy?

First of all, I get you. It is disappointing how this all turned out. Sure, painfully partial results, and knowing the Philippine electoral process, there will be protests filed and waits lengthened. But it is disappointing how the things you thought would materialize didn't. Nope, the majority, at least according to these painfully partial results, did not vote for common sense. Nope, they did not see things your way. The spoils still go to the incompetent, at best, and the outright bad, at worst.

Yes, I understand how these results will threaten your future, your chances of having a good go at life in this country. That's how I feel, too. The looming threat of a rubber-stamp Upper House to complement an already rubber-stamp Lower House is not fun. Analysts may say that senators tend to be "presidents in waiting" and therefore will still show a streak of independence, but in the end it's still a numbers game, and whether for idealistic or pragmatic reasons, the administration will get the votes it demands and it will get its agenda across, for better or worse.

To me, it means both more robust infrastructure and the potential of losing my sovereignty; it means both some degree of certainty of what to expect and the inability to complain about it when things go tits up. As a writer, you can imagine my anger when I learned both my parents support someone who's intent on clamping down freedom of the press. To you - to all of us - it means knowing our politicians will just enrich themselves at our expense. I mean, at this point you don't need to wait for a scandal to erupt. At least one senator put in jail for corruption - albeit selectively, as some might put it - is in the Magic 12, thanks to a song and dance.

And yes, it's easy to blame other people for this. Besides, you did your homework. You thought things through. You went for the qualified, you went for the truly deserving. You've done your part. They didn't. They went for the names they recognize, the people willing to degrade themselves on stage just to woo them. They didn't do their homework. You did. You're better. They're not.

Why are they voting again?

Maybe they should be stripped of the right to vote. Right? You're pretty certain they don't pay their taxes. Maybe only taxpayers should vote. Maybe they should present their tax returns before they vote. (Never mind that the imposition of value-added tax means, in theory, everybody pays for taxes in one way or another.) Maybe only college graduates should be allowed to vote. They should present their transcript of records before they vote. The mock polls held by the universities show that the candidates you want to win are winning, after all, so that should mean a vote that goes your way, right?

But if that doesn't work, at the very least you should blame them for voting they way they did. You stupid motherfuckers! Why are you screwing over my future? Why are you not voting for the candidates that are deemed to be deserving of my support? Since when did you have a say in how my life should go? Fuck your religion and your block votes. Fuck your being from the province. Fuck your being too simple-minded to understand just what is at stake.

And you claim to believe in democracy?

Yes, tempers are high, and they have been high for the past three years or so. Maybe nine, maybe eighteen - it really depends on which political persuasion you are of, but I digress. But it's been disheartening to see, over the weekend, the amount of posts on social media that essentially advocate for disenfranchising those who they deemed are less likely to vote for sensible, those more likely to go for silly. (Or very silly.) There was a lot of abuse aimed at Iglesia ni Cristo members for their leadership's endorsements. There was a misinformation campaign cloaked in satire, trying to convince the others that they can vote through text, or something. And then there's the straight out "maybe they should not be allowed to vote" tweet. And these are the people I follow - these are educated, college graduates, most likely from the Big Three. They're now the ones flirting with being a dictator in their own terms. "If you voted for somebody I hate, please unfriend me!"

Still, I get you. These things are frustrating. Your trust in this government is already low, what with the president's pronouncements and his willingness to barge through everything for the sake of proving to his base that, unlike others, he means change. And now we have a key player in a deadly drug war in the running, and convicted criminals in the running, and then there's Bong Go, whose qualifications outside of "I will support the president" (if that can be called as such) still elude me. These things are beyond frustrating. It's a threat to how you live.

But, of course, there's a reason why they - the others you're keen to vilify to prove that you're better - went the way they did, and chances are it's the same reasons why you went the way you did. Your trust levels are low. You want to see change. It's just that they didn't make the same decisions you made, no doubt because they see things you don't, they lived through other things you didn't. But, yeah, it's their fault for being stupid. And who you vote for is a reflection of who you are, they say, so go ahead, unfriend them, and live in a place where everybody agrees with you.

This is possibly me showing off why I'm better than you - see, I'm no different! - but there's a reason why I haven't muted, unfollowed, or blocked those of different political opinions than mine. I want to understand what they're seeing, somehow. It doesn't mean what I believe in will change. But everybody has their reasons - and those others are not always going their way because money was involved. That's you being patronizing and condescending.

And besides, this democracy you so strongly believe in - it means also living with the fact that what you want is not always what you'll get, that you'll be in the minority in many, if not most, cases. Even in frustration you cannot just advocate for shutting some people up for the sake of preserving your status quo. Come to think about it, that's how the "us versus them" narrative is formed - but you're the enemy in their eyes.

But it also means the process doesn't stop with the vote. You can always speak up, and you have always spoken up. Whether the government listens is another thing - but then, all the more reason for you to speak up. But, well, if everybody around you agrees with you, because you've shut out anybody who might question your convictions and, ultimately, make you look bad... perhaps you're a dictator too, but then it's your social media feeds and all the relationships that go with it, so it's fine, right?

And your responses...

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