deadliest deadline

meandering thoughts on the beat

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

middle class angst, democracy and clean elections

Internet forums, blogs and email have been flooded recently with a host of various statements/emails purportedly from unidentified members of the middle class who claim they don’t like GMA but that the opposition offers no viable alternative. They conclude with that we should live and let live and move on (barf!) It seems that these emails are striking some chord in the otherwise dormant middle class as many observe they find some grain of truth in them. Now that is sad, really sad. I consider myself a member of the lower middleclass, slaving a way at a job, struggling to make ends meet, etc. but I find nothing true in the statements. Everyone has a say on what they think is good for the country, no one has a monopoly there. On the other hand, I agree with some of the points. The prospects don’t look too good if we were to consider who will replace GMA. But does that mean we should just let GMA be and let her sit in Malacanang with the questions about her legitimacy, the fertilizer fund, the Hello Garci tapes still hanging? I don’t think so. I think we have to kick out any President who has these questions over his or her head and bring in the Vice President, no matter how inept we think he is because that what the Constitution says. If the replacement also screws up, replace again, and so on. I think we have to keep at it, keep doing this until we get the whole thing right!! Because I believe we are not going to mature as a democracy if we keep letting crooks sit in the Palace. The statement writers said we have already gone through an impeachment process as part of due process. Agreed, but let’s not forget the process was quashed by the President’s allies in the House. So how now the search for truth? It was a battle of numbers? Fine, but what about the search for the truth of what really happened in the last elections? Sadly, the truth has become a casualty in politics, as usual. And who can we blame here, the congressmen? Maybe us the voters who put these imbeciles there. Nothing has been presented to prove BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT that GMA cheated in the last elections, one forum member observed. But to prove someone committed a crime beyond reasonable doubt is something for the courts to decide. And that's only applicable in a criminal case. Otherwise, I will insist that everyone can have their own assumptions and opinions on the matter. If it was proven that Gloria DID NOT cheat in the last elections, I would have accepted that. But they did not even embark in the first step to go about ferreting out the truth. The more truth the does not come out, the more chaotic our country will be. A bishop said today that it would seem the government has neglected the call of the CBCP to get to the truth of the Garci scandal. Sad. Some have argued that media is to blame for the controversies surrounding the President. Balderdash, if you ask me. We all have the logic, reason and faculties to distinguish fact and fiction, no matter what the biased media presents us. If we don’t like what we hear, see or read, we can just put down that newspaper and shut our TV and radio sets. Media only reflects our reality whether good or bad. The government and the people must give media a better reality, or else, it will just be "bad" news all the time. (I hesitate to use "good" or "bad" labels, but this is another argument). We keep blaming media, GMA, the opposition, etc. when really, we should be blaming OURSELVES, each and every single one of us who does or does not pay taxes correctly. We deserve the government we get because we can be so darned APATHETIC about things. Like I said, I’d like to think I am like most members of the middle class who are salaried workers working and struggling to make an honest living. But does that mean we should be silent about the things going on around us? I don’t think so. Definitely, we should demand more from our leaders. Then and only then will the quality of our leaders get better over time and no matter how long this will take. That's the essence of democracy, participation of the people. Democracy is about power to the people. It’s about the people giving this power freely to a leader who will represent their best interests and when this leader stops representing the people's interest anymore, then the people can demand for her resignation. Privately, I have said that one solid way the Philippines can grow as a democracy is to institute clean elections. It’s time to say goodbye to decades of cheating in our polls. I remember the lecture of a Ramon Magsaysay awardee on how he and his group managed to clean elections in Pakistan (or was that India?). They bought counting machines the size of a fax machine which shortened the election period to just a few days. Now why can’t we do the same? We can’t expect government anymore to institute clean elections because it uses it to propagate the rule of the elite. But I think this is where we should all start.


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