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I was having snacks with some colleagues yesterday and we were talking about our bets for the upcoming election. Everyone shared who they want to win and why. I realized how shallow our (yes including mine) reasons are. Some say they would vote a candidate because it seem like fun to have him/her in that position. Others would simply say "ah, basta" (I've made my decision and I don't have to explain it). If I was asking other people, I can take those shallow answers but these are my colleagues who I've known to have made careful and deliberate decisions. I was disappointed with even the most analytical ones.
I am not saying that we should not use our gut instinct. Sometimes its the only thing we have. We can never be really sure about the characters of those candidates. We all know how show business is intertwined with politics. Actors can become politicians and politicians show their acting prowess in TV ads. Heck, if Manny Villar keeps airing his political ads, my gut instinct might be swayed to vote for him because I'm a sucker for drama.
Other than our gut instinct, do we really exert, and I mean exert, effort to know the candidates? Do we stay up late just to watch those boring political forums with an open mind, taking into consideration not just their answers but how they answer? Have we reviewed their platforms? Do we even know where to get a copy of these platforms? Do we even know where to start?
I know I haven't done my part yet. I'm one of those uneducated voters. Yeah sure, I have access to the internet but I only used it to google for dolls and read blogs. Having that conversation with my colleagues got me thinking how stupid I am that I'm not taking this decision making task seriously. My future is on the line and what?
I have always valued my right of suffrage and took part in all the elections since I was 18. The thing is I haven't taken that seriously. I would only vote people I like based on the general vibe they project. I usually have lots of blanks on my ballot. It's because I didn't really study my options and looking back I think it was such a waste.
I'm not going to let that happen now. I'm going to visit the sites of the candidates, read and analyze their platforms, educate myself and eventually educate others. If I finally decided who the best candidates are, I will campaign for them whether I think they will win or not. I will start with my family. I know how my family really listens to what I have to say since I've been forced to take the role of the man of the house. I will tell my friends who I'm voting for and why I'm voting for him/her and suggest that they make the same critical thinking, not necessarily pick the same candidate.
My colleague said yesterday that we can't change the system. How can he if he can't even change himself? I want to change. The change brought by the first EDSA revolution would be wasted if we don't continue to change for the better. There's a lot to fight, and I'd like to start with fighting personal ignorance.