A few weeks ago, my fiance and I were debating whether having a good leader WILL actually change our country’s current state. Let’s face it, though a good leader will definitely bring forth change, nothing will ever happen if its people refuse to follow.
This past 2 weeks, social media has been flooding with photos, statuses and random comments in support of the different presidential candidates. Each post exclaiming why his/her presidential bet should win next year’s elections. Facebook user Paolo Mendoza however has a different take, and truth is, he makes a very valid point.
“With all these talks of presidential candidates in full swing, I see a problem.
A very serious problem.
I have noticed how the narrative of the presidential race has unfolded: the Philippines is in peril. Corruption, poverty, lawlessness is everywhere. The daang matuwid has fallen to the powers of evil. Then out of the fog comes our knights in shining armor. We have the likes of Roxas, Binay, Poe, Santiago, and Duterte vying for the top position of the land, with their messianic promises of salvation from all this evil, the political parties rallying behind their battle cry of justice and fairness.
They are not my problem, however. My problem is how the Filipino people have so quickly thrown out their support for their preferred manoks, at the same time dissing the other people’s choices. They have readily surrendered their faith to these candidates, hoping for the country to finally rise out of the ashes of destruction.
My dear fellow Filipinos, you are the problem.
You are the reason why we have to stomach mediocrity, administration after administration. You blindly believe the love of a whore (pag-ibig ng isang puta!) without objectively screening the candidates’ motivations, intent, capabilities, and actions. You are all lazy that you intentionally disregard facts that would make you question your preferred candidates, choosing instead to ignore these things out of convenience. You rationalize these individuals’ failings, either by downplaying it or by comparing it as a lesser evil than others, but it doesn’t change the fact that it /is/ still a sin that should be called out. You are all victims of cognitive biases, letting your own mind take over as it subjectively perceives information, taking in information that is in line with your beliefs, while simultaneously ignoring information that clashes with your beliefs.
You should have realized, that after 8 elections have gone since the EDSA revolution, we are still stuck at a conundrum. You must realize that all these people we have elected in the past have at one point been presented to the public as “The Chosen One” who will save the republic. I could therefore conclude empirically that candidates’ talks of changing the government is all bull; no matter who you choose, the end result is always the same: disappointment.
You are not giving your vote to the candidates; you are absolving yourself of your duties as a citizen of the Philippines. You are transferring your individual responsibilities to this country towards a few people, expecting them to magically erase our problems out of existence.
Citizens of the Philippines, I will tell you this harsh reality: no matter who you vote for, our country will not magically become a first-world country with zero percent poverty and crime rate. Our country will not magically become a superior world power that will kick China’s ass. Our country is NOTHING without its people.
If you seriously believe that so and so candidate can make this nation great, then you are deluding yourselves. What is a nation but a people? The success of this nation depends on each individual that comprises this nation.
And that is you. Do you still want to hope for this nation? Then you must do your part. Start thinking less of yourself and more of your fellow Filipinos. Recognize that your actions affect other people. Understand that our own selfish actions are a detriment to Philippine society. Start empathizing with others.
Understand the plight of the Lumads, the struggle of the Casiguruan farmers, the hardships of the Atis of Boracay.
Car owners, see how commuters wrestle for the daily commute.
Commuters, see how drivers suffer two hours of sitting in traffic.
Employers, understand the financial struggle of the employees.
Employees, understand the blood, sweat, and tears the employers poured into their business.
This is a republic, a government of the people, for the people, by the people. It’s all about the people, not about a grandson of a former president, a congenital liar, a foundling, an opportunist, a dying lawyer, a womanizing executioner, or a widow of a former mayor.
You have the power to change this country. Rather than placing your faith blindly in these fake messiahs, place your faith in your own capability to change this country. These people have nothing to offer you but mere words and empty promises.
This has gone on for so long. Every election season, all I see are people telling everyone “So and so will save our country”, and look where it has gotten us. 8 elections after people power and we are still left with a dysfunctional society, because we have refused, for so long, to do our part in building a better country.
People of the Philippines, wake up. Stop dreaming of salvation from these candidates because they will never be able to reach your expectations. You must face the reality that for change to occur, it must start from you.
It is difficult work, changing the country and all, but the price to pay for change to happen is your life. But, I am not asking for you to die for your country. All I am asking is for you to live your life according to how you want our society to be.
You want an orderly society? Follow the law.
You want a just society? Be fair to others.
You want good leaders? Learn to lead.
Change is indeed coming, but it has to start with you.”
Paolo’s words might be pretty harsh, but I have to admit, he makes a good point. It IS important that we choose a good and worthy leader, but we can’t just expect everything to change right after. WE need to change ourselves. None of us is perfect, the simple act of throwing a candy wrapper in the proper place might even be trivial for some. There are a lot of small changes we can make to make the Philippines a better country. YES, there will still be those who refuse to change, but that’s THEIR problem. WE need to start with ourselves first.
What do you think of Paolo’s post? Do you agree?