Unsolicited advice to voters (II)-A A +A
By Ramon Dacawi
Friday, March 8, 2013
DON’T decline or crumple those hand-outs of our candidates you will soon be receiving, almost on a daily basis. Receive the leaflet gracefully, especially if contains the track record, platform and promises of a candidate or of his or her party slate. Read and study them as your guide in completing your voter’s list for the polls this May.
The political party affiliation may not matter much. We all know parties hardly represent or stand for any particular ideology or system of governance. They are created, revived, re-established, divided into several wings and colors, merged or coalesced, if not collapsed to provide a semblance of principles to believe in or disown, yet actually serve to consolidate machinery and resources for election victory.
The current party membership, however, helps you count the number of times chameleons and butterflies among them had changed colors and crossed party lines for their personal convenience and political survival. It helps you conveniently cross them out of your list. Since most of us share a short memory, it’s one reason for keeping those “polyetos” before and long after the elections.
If you have kept a candidate’s previous leaflet, compare it with the current print. Has the candidate stayed on track or has been faithful to the previous platform? Were those promises fleshed out and validated with actual accomplishments? Did they ever get off the ground, or were they derailed and forgotten, then retrieved and just revived, in toto or re-worded and updated, in keeping with the current issues of governance?
The basis for any candidate - whether re-electionist, on the comeback trail, moving up or down the ladder, a try-again or debuting – to be in our list is performance. Not on his or her eloquence on the rally stage or doggedness and indefatigability on the campaign trail. It’s not based on name recall. Or the call for change in the names of the next set of leaders. The choice of retention is anchored on leadership based on the wannabes track records in and out of government. This yardstick of previous accomplishments covers every Tom, Dick and Harry and Jane and Susan or whoever offers to serve anew or for change.
So far, the governance issues substantially never changed but are getting more pronounced. So does the concept of good governance. Good governance, partners from the Canadian International Development Agency and the Institute on Governance taught me years ago, means the sharing of power, authority, responsibility and resources to bring closer our communities closer to what they should be.
This means that accountability is encompassing. A try-again or newcomer, to be as credible or even more believable than the ins and the come-backing, must also be measured in terms of what he or she did as fellow citizen, be it for the poor, the weak, the ageing, the youth, the kids, the doctors, the engineers, the lawyers, the bankers, the carpenters, the masons, the party list, the party-less, the prisoners, the convicts, the trees, the urban space, the traffic, local culture and history, or whatever good cause there was or is.
The truth is that one does not need to be elected to make a difference or to advance issues and causes. One does not need to be elected to earn those credentials we read in the campaign leaflets.
The truth is that credibility is not earned overnight. One or even a hundred trees just planted do not an environmentalist make. Neither do several balls donated make a candidate a sports and youth advocate.
Winning also does not guarantee us good executives and legislators who understand and act according to the parameters of their mandated positions. It is no assurance that they would remember to flesh out their platforms and promises of hope and action.
So keep those polyetos coming your way for reference in assessing the performance, the unity between concept and work execution, theory and practice of those we’re shooing in and showing out this May.
Save those campaign materials as mementos. Like old photographs and promises, they’ll be of value far over the cost paid for their printing by “supporters and friends” 20 or 50 years from now.
Don’t crumple, throw or burn them. It’s bad for the environment, as it is bad nailing those names and faces on trees. It’s bad for your health and blood pressure, unless it serves as a vent for releasing frustration over broken promises.
Recycle those polyetos, as do our jeepney drivers do to those tarpaulins with names and photographs they’ll have us sit on, on our rides to and from work after the elections.
As it was and is, we do recycle most of our politicians - as themselves or through their relatives and namesakes out to follow their footsteps. Or as party list representatives or as representatives of those leagues of councilors, both of whom are already over-represented or misrepresented in our national and local legislatures.
(e-mail: email@example.com for comments)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 09, 2013.