It's quite funny how time passes. One day we are mourning the death of a Filipino icon. The next day, her son is endorsing Mar Roxas to be his successor.
Philippine politics in the eyes of the common man is characterized by either misplaced hope or soul-numbing apathy. Well, this is my observation: We either say "This person gets it! This is my candidate! I don't know what the exact plans are but he's the son of this former senator/he's a bar top notcher/he has awsome hair" or "Eh, what's the point in voting for someone when we all know all the grand promises will remain in fantasy land?".
It's easy to subscribe to either attitudes. But I've mentioned before that doing what's easy is not always worth doing.
We all know what's wrong with these attitudes. But why are these attitudes even present? Some blame blame it on ignorance. But isn't agreeing to that the same as subscribing to the two attitudes I mentioned? I mean, they're all practical and easy and they are hollow sentiments since all don't answer the question "why?" or "how?"
Why? How? These questions are two of the most powerful tools we have as citizens in shaping our nation. Why should we vote for someone who insists he's just like us but has an office larger than our homes? How can we trust someone to lead our nation when he is out there posing for the cameras as he does the job of his men?
These questions, as individuals are easy to ask. But it takes more than a solitary vote to change the world.
I've always believed that the individual is smarter than society. The individual compromises while society judges blindly. The individual invents and creates. Society goes to war and wastes everything in sight.
The Philippine society can be compared to sheep following everything that its shepherd dictates. The very society that determines who our leaders are going to be is a flock of unthinking sheep.
Don't get me wrong. This is not exclusive to the Philippines. The German society once killed off millions of innocent individuals during WWII. This article is in no way an attempt to bash the Filipino society.
Now, back to the topic, if the Philippine society is the sheep, who is the shepherd? Who do we turn to whenever we need information? Who do we turn to for guidance in those days of national assemblies? Don't look too far. It's everywhere. And no it's not God. It's the Media.
Think about it. Isn't the media our gateway to the lives, ideals and beliefs of our celebrities and politicians? I don't know who the heck Hailee Steinfeld is. But thanks to GMA News Online, I know she's some actress who is part Filipino. Pinoy Pride! Heck, it's the media that tells us to be proud of people who succeed just because they happen to have Filipino blood.
The power of the media usually goes unnoticed in the Philippines. Most don't hold them accountable and this is where misplaced hope and mind-numbing apathy during elections stem from.
A good example of when the media held such great power was during the Mamasapano clash. I remember watching TV Patrol bombard me with the SAF 44's relatives crying and asking for justice for several weeks. All the while, they along with Jessica Soho's State of the Nation on GMA News TV relay speculation after speculation. It's a good thing there are organizations that actually took notice. Too bad society was busy calling for an all-out war that only few individuals saw the article.
This coming election, the media will paint its story of how it's time for change and how it starts from the citizenry. Maybe it's time we start asking for change to start with them. Isn't it about time we ask for them to shed their marketing ways? Isn't it about time they stop calling network talent/show promotions as "umaatikabong/nagbabagang balita"? Isn't it about time they grill candidates about their generic platforms? Or maybe how much of a wuss they are?
I've touched on the term "accountability" before. It is easy to see why the government should adopt it. But for this nation to thrive and be what we always want it to be, it is a term we should always come back to.
Why can't we ever get elections right? It's because we don't hold both the media and government accountable.