By Philip Suzara
Pondering… as I sit here at the edge of my mythical life pond.
One can see many things happening at the edge of life’s pond, as in any pond. Decisions are made there, life changing decisions, defining moments… to get in the pond, or not. The pond is encircled by its edges in different forms and kinds: straight, jagged, rough, rocks, pebbles, sand, soil, or mud. Very much like people. No matter the differences we have, we all belong there… around the life pond, inside, outside, at the edge, but there.
The election season is definitely here, no matter that the campaign period has yet to be officially declared open. The election bug is getting most of our kababayans in a frenzied stupor; many are excited with the thought of getting harnessed into the political agenda of politicians, an opportunity for livelihood.
No issues on their chosen candidates being upright and righteous, just good old livelihood for self and family. Trolls start to flourish; warm bodies get engaged on either a part-time or full-time basis to do something for the candidate, whatever task, anything. Assignments can range from high level tasks such as being part of the main campaign team, campaign organizers, auxiliaries doing odds and ends, future poll watchers, or just something to co-opt more people and keep them in their camps. And they are proud to announce that they are not into buying votes. It is one whole big industry and the locks and keys of their money chests are thrown away to keep the money flowing.
I have to say though that only a few candidates are able to do this. They are those who came into newfound monies in this dominion, or some hidden wealth from the dark ages of the despot of Martial Law. They will “preach”, splurge, and prey on other peoples’ sorry circumstances.
For many of us, it is the proper time to engage our kababayans in healthy and spirited discussions, hopefully to bring them to discernment, and arrive at making the right and selfless choice on who and what would be good for the country and our children’s future. This is the time when real change will really matter. No sloganeering here, just the right time to make that real change!
With those candidates who find themselves with a lot of surplus money who will charm their way for their minions to vote for them, we surely have a rough journey ahead of us. The general public is still not that discerning and have short memories. Look at the man in power now, and the other one who almost made it as vice-president, Dios na mahabagin, huwag na Ninyo kaming biruin o parusahan ng ganyan muli, para Niyo nang awa!
If they, actually, had their way, most of our voters will be making the right choice and go for the right one to change their lives for a better and brighter tomorrow. Their circumstances tell them otherwise and it takes a lot of doing to do the right thing. People ask if it is alright to accept from vote buyers -- this act is a continuing reality and practice come election time. It is a tragedy to note that those who accept money for their vote, actually vote for the candidate who gave them money. “Honest” or beholden? You answer that.
What is clear is that there is no valid justification for vote buying. And the rent-seekers; what about murky donations to candidates by business, legal or illegal, and landed interests, or of abuse of state resources, both of which do not concern the poor but the rich and high government officials? We should be as equally concerned with where candidates get the tremendous amount of money to buy votes or to undertake their massive campaigns. It is totally unfair to point to the poor as the ones solely responsible for our bad politics. The poor may sell their votes to survive the next day, but the rich vote and support candidates to have good connections and enrich themselves some more. So, tell me, which really is worse? Try answering that, too!
The good Cardinal Sin, because of the prevalence of vote-buying during the dark ages of Martial Law, had admonished his flock to accept the money but vote according to their conscience. I think this statement should not be taken out of context as it was precisely said in the context of people actually voting for the candidate who gave them money. The point being made was that any pact with the devil is no pact at all.
Morality, while being relative to cultural realities, does not lose its intrinsic value. What is good will remain good and what is bad, is still bad. Our moral bearings have been assaulted by these corrupt politicos. Vote buying has always been wrong. Honesty does not have to be rediscovered, it has always been a good moral value.
It will be best to campaign for the return of good moral values because they present what is good, they have been eroded through the years but that is where the roots of all that is right emanate from. Pragmatism has been the insidious culprit here. Slowly and unconsciously, we drift farther away from our moral bearings because of pragmatism – our moral bearing is still there and will always be there.
Let us not venture too far regarding that moral dilemma of pragmatism. Look at the narrative of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables -- that story began with a stolen loaf of bread for survival. Different moralities according to different conditions; It is not right to eat a fellow human being, but, in a survival condition, it will not be a sin to do that.
While morality is adaptive of a particular situation, it remains constant in a general situation. Morality is dictated by the prevailing culture but its intrinsic value remains the same.
We tread on to get back closer to it if we want to do things right – for our sake, for our children’s sake, for the country’s sake.
If you had a good sense of honour in your head and embraced good values, these clowns and goons would not be the kind of people you would be inviting to your home, sit down and break bread with you and your family. Make this your yardstick for making your choices -- would your candidate be worthy enough to be invited to your home?
My pondering also brings to mind another iconic, and very timely, song written by Rey Valera, performed by Kenyo and released in 2008. Listen to it, you can almost imagine the woke loyalists and tards singing the same to their principals.
“Ayoko Na Sa Iyo
Sinong tinakot mo ako ba? Lalake yata ako, at hindi habang panahon kitang susuyuin Lahat may hangganan din
Ayoko na sa'yo, nasasakyan mo ba? Problema ka lang sa akin
Ayoko na sa'yo, ako'y litong-lito Puro sakit ng ulo
Aanhin pa ang pag-ibig Kung puro luha at sakit Kahit walang bahid ang tulad mo Di bale, di bale na
Oo inaamin kong totoo Ako ay umibig sa'yo
Ngunit talagang sukong-suko ako Di bale na, di bale na
Ayoko na sa'yo, nasasakyan mo ba? Kailan ka magbabago
Ayoko na sa'yo, ako'y litong-lito Sa kakaisip sa'yo
Pero sayang na sayang, ang pag-ibig na inukol ko sayo”
At uulitin ko,
Ayoko na sa iyo, nasasakyan mo ba?
Pondering, as I sit here at the edge of life’s pond.
Creature of God. Child of the Universe. Global Citizen. Lover of Life. Freedom Fighter. Agent of Change. Lone Wolf. Occasional Consultant for Strategic Communications.