News / July 19, 2021

We are who we elect


Composed of decent and upstanding convenors 1Sambayan is both blessed and cursed.


We surmise that one or two of the reasons 1Sambayan candidates might stand to lose in the forthcoming presidential elections have nothing to do with the specific merits or demerits of the candidates they vet. Set against a previous opposition offensive in 2019, a quick glance at the achievements and the curriculum vitae of those fielded then, each was exemplary in their own fields and when taken cumulatively, even a mere third would have overwhelmed the qualifications and experience of administration bets who actually won.


The telling difference given the foregoing where another set might be fielded in 2022 would not be a function of qualifications but, as happened in 2019, dependent more on the quality of the electorate arrayed against the quality of the politicians. That is our ugly reality, the Filipino real politic, where recently and over the years, we continually elect to office the kind who govern us now.


The weakness of the opposition has not been with their candidates. The systemic aberration is on the part of the electorate.


Pundits whose political preferences are currently in power and from whom they benefit would insist that the Filipino voter has finally matured, voting wisely sans monetary inducements, and with an unobstructed vision of the kind of future they want as a legacy for the youth. We are who we elect and since the democracy that we embody is a representative democracy, we vote those who mirror us.


The foremost corollary to that proposition is that we reject those who are not like us both because they do not represent our ideals and principles but also because we simply do not care for those principles in our bureaucracy.


The rejection is both reflective and prospective. And it is for that reason that our choices seem to extend well into perpetuity and is so deeply ingrained that they define us as voters as well as the curse that always seems to be with us.


We deserve the kind of government we have because we elect those who mirror us. The quality of governance we inflict on ourselves characterizes us. High quality voters, high quality officials. Stupid voters, stupid officials. The arithmetic is easy.


The crusted proverb where the proof of the pudding is in the eating applies. The real value of something can be judged only from results and not from cursory appearances, hypotheses, or theory.


That said, if we judge from results the quality of those we elected so as to reflect our own quality as voters, then a simple audit of critical areas, both victories and failures, should be self-actualizing. Note our fallen economy. Note the hunger index, the Gini Coefficient, the rising poverty line. Also note our failed healthcare systems and the incompetence by which those we elected continue to mismanage our pandemic response.


In the background there is the surrender of our sovereignty, an anti-terror law to terrorize the people, the sequestration of privately purchased and owned vaccines, and an ill-timed attempt to tinker with the Constitution.


Ipso facto, we are in deep shit.


So now all depends on how honest we are with ourselves in 2022. On that aspect, the electoral exercise can be futile.