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Friday, August 17, 2012
I WAS reading Nini Cabaero on Tuesday about how various political hopefuls piled into the President's jeep as it headed for a look round the recently flooded areas of Metro Manila, political hopefuls obviously up to a bit of not-so-subtle pre-election electioneering. When it occurred to me, why have elections in the usual sense at all?
The Philippines is a nation obsessed with talent shows such as The X Factor and Philippine Idol. It's also a nation obsessed with texting and social networking. Why not combine the two manias into a sort of political he (or she)'s got talent show -- our senators, congressmen, vice-president and president taking their seats courtesy of you and me texting in a vote.
There is, after all, no arguing with the final number and what could be more democratic than that?
And cheap! No need to rent or buy fancy self-counting election boxes; no teachers to pay manning school polling stations, indeed no polling stations at all, and no overtime pay for soldiers and police keeping order. And -- wishful thinking I admit -- aspiring politicians wouldn't have to steal from the nation to pay for their election campaign because there'd be no campaign -- only a series of televised talent shows.
There'd be heats to whittle down the number of, say, wannabe senators to equal the number of seats available. The voter's elbow, not some iffy commission, getting rid of nuisance candidates. Then, at the finals, the candidate would get fifteen minutes to state their case, sing a song (Politicians love karaoke),maybe hoof a soft shoe shuffle and then -- next! What could be fairer than that?
Guaranteed primetime television, admen will love the idea. All the stations would be obliged to air the show at the same time and the audience given a week to text in their votes. It works on real talent shows so why not for the national elections?
On Tuesday, pointing out that among the passengers posing aboard Noy's jeep were the Bureau of Customs and Tesda chiefs, Nini Cabaero asked what could be their roles at the height of rescue and relief operations?
None at all. Gerroff! Next!
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 17, 2012.