joined a campaign sortie for nicanor perlas today. every time i go on a sortie, i start all cheerful (hey i should smile, nobody likes a scowling volunteer) and fresh and lively, but at the end of the day i feel more depressed and tired rather than accomplished. (the rain didn’t help my mood)
we toured around caloocan city and focused on dagat-dagatan. when you see poverty on TV, you take it for granted, you take it as a fact of life in a third world country, with our corruptions, with our social inequality, with all our dirt. but when you gag on the stink, when you step in the mud, when you see kids shitting on the street and mothers stooped over their washboards beating the hell out of their laundry amidst piles of garbage,then poverty becomes appallingly real.
but what appalled me weren’t so much the surroundings, but those people who refused to listen or threw what you worked for away or played you around and made fun of you or sneered at you and mocked you because you didn’t come there to buy votes.
i used to be (and sometimes still am) a selfish bitch caught in the mire of my existentialist angst, but sir nick (and my other mentors) inspires me to have faith in a better future for our country, to get out of the comfort of my room and my books and my movies and my computer and actually write and do shit that i think matters, but when i go around and talk with people, i end up wondering why i even bother to work this hard and help raise consciousness when the lot of them don’t even fucking care about the country. no, scratch that, some of them don’t even care about raising themselves up. it’s really depressing, especially when i consider that maybe, maybe they’ve gotten sick of trying to raise themselves up from their sordid conditions, gotten sick of caring, and found that there is less insanity, less disappointment, less despair, in their adopted apathy.
and yes i’m pretty pissed, but i realize that i’m not pissed at them, i’m pissed at the conditions that led them to be that way. so yes, i will continue to struggle against my own selfishness and apathy and try to alleviate those conditions that confine and oppress so many of our people, but, what that won’t stop me from bitching.
i’ve realized that for as long as we have traditional voters, we will have traditional politicians.
granted, decent politicians who genuinely want to serve the country and are not merely consumed by greed and political ambition are hard to come by. but they do come by, these “nontraditional politicians“, but when they do, they often lose, not mainly because the elections are rigged, but because we have such a stupid voting populace. and you know why? because the social systems of this country have kept so many people so ignorant for so long. i do not think our people are inherently stupid, it’s just that most of us do not have access to those resources that enable us to make informed choices.
kung hanggang grade school lang ang tinapos mo at walang ibang pinagawa sayo kung hindi magmemorize ng mga bagay na hindi mo naman maintindihan ang kahalagahan, matututo ka bang maging mapanuri? kung lumaki ka sa komunidad kung saan okay lang isahan ang kapwa mo para makaangat sa buhay, kung saan ang naghaharing kaisipan ay matira ang matinik at matibay, iisipin mo ba na, “ooh dapat paglingkuran ko ang aking bayan!!”?
this is not to say that i think that most of our people don’t care about the country. nung nag-sortie kami sa dagat-dagatan, may nakausap akong resident leader, sabi niya, gusto niyang makitang maunlad ang kanyang komunidad. pero sumusuporta siya sa mga trapo, kasi sila yung may malaking pagkakataong manalo.
we need social reforms to produce intelligent citizens, but we also already need intelligent citizens to put worthy people in power who would enact those social reforms. kaloka di ba, parang chicken and the egg riddle lang! and we’d be trapped in this sort of circular dilemma if we just rely on the government.
like you, the political climate of this country is getting me more and more frustrated. but instead of becoming indifferent, i suppose we should strive to accomplish things outside of the gov’t. we may not have the powers that come with a gov’t position, but we can still do much. WE can be the light we’re looking for.
this may sound “hopelessly hopeful” (as one of my facebook contacts put it), pero SHET, if we have no hope for this country, no will to try and make things better, WALA talagang mangyayari satin. let’s just all migrate to a foreign land where we’ll be treated as second-rate citizens, or put a gun to our heads then. isn’t that what keeps us going, hope? (at least that’s how it is for me.) wouldn’t you rather die trying than DO NOTHING and watch everything–all our aspirations, all we’ve been fighting for–go down the drain?
when people learn that i’m campaigning for perlas, they say that i’m campaigning for a dream, that there is no way in hell he’s gonna win. call me idealistic, pero sakin kasi ganito: i want to vote for someone i truly believe in, not for someone i think has a fat chance of winning. sabong ba ang eleksyon? well, dito parang oo, pero di baaaa. HINDI DAPAT. para sakin, mas sayang pa yun kesa kung binoto mo na lang yung gusto mo talaga, kahit pa sabihing wala siyang pag-asa. pano kung isandaang libo pala kayong nag-iisip niyan? tas kung di niyo inisip yan, magkaka-pag-asa sana siya?
we’re always complaining about never having a real choice, about always having to settle for the lesser evil. when i registered to vote, i wondered if the 13 hours i spent lining up would go to waste, if i’d just opt to abstain for lack of a genuine choice. but nooo. so i count myself lucky to be able to make this choice with conviction.
if we always think about the limitations and practicalities of the matter, wala talagang mangyayari satin. kung pipiliin nating mag-jaywalk kesa tumawid sa overpass, maglagay kesa makunan ng lisensya, itapon ang candy wrapper sa daan kesa maghanap ng trash can, wala talagang mangyayari satin.
when did we start giving up on the ideal and start settling for something unsatisfactory just because it is easily accessible? what is this mindset doing to us as a people, what is it doing to our country?
pano kung tanggalin ng mga tao sa isip nila yung ideya na sayang lang ang boto kay perlas kasi kulelat siya sa surveys? kasi wala siyang TV ads? kasi 500 thousand pesos nga lang hirap na hirap i-raise? pano kung ang inisip ng mga tao eh panalo yung vision niya? maganda platform niya? extensive ang experience niya? may integrity siya?
i know he prolly won’t win, not by a long shot, not when people seem to be won over by flashy ads or nostalgia for a household name. but you know what, i don’t care. what i want to focus on now is raising awareness about him, hoping that maybe, maybe, people will hear and people will care. and even if he doesn’t win, i won’t consider his efforts, our efforts, wasted. let’s just continue to plod on, raise awareness, keep setting precedents. maybe someday, people like him will actually have a big chance of winning.
iniisip ko nga minsan, siguro pag hindi nanalo si perlas, yun ay dahil di pa tayo handa. di pa handang magbago, di pa handang lumabas sa kahon ng ating pag-iisip. kahit naman manalo siya, wala ring mangyayari kung hindi tayo lahat willing magbago. yun naman ang point niya eh, change cannot come from him alone or from the government alone. tali-tali yan, government, economic system, culture. for example, at the risk of sounding simplistic, progress is impeded by corruption in our government institutions, linked to economic inequality (ehem sociopolitical dynasties ehem), perpetuated by a neoliberal, neocolonial mindset. (hindi naman ako gumugulong-gulong dito sa slippery slope di ba?)
i guess it boils down to this: do you care more about statistics and feasibility, or do you care more about ideals?