ELECTION fever has hit us—-and it is catching. The mudslinging is exciting, the political commentaries, interesting. I can tell you, I’m glad I’m only voting—-not running. The political jingles are hitting the charts. It’s amazing what politicians will do to win votes. It’s obviously a voters’ market—-whatever the voters want and want to hear, they get.

But really, do the presidential debates and fora matter? Talk is cheap. Promises don’t really mean anything. At this point in time, the presidentiables will promise anything to get elected into office which is why we should acknowledge those who choose to go against the grain and issue contrary opinions. They who choose to put principle first and risk losing votes have my respect.

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In the end, my vote will go to the candidate who I believe has the capacity to translate his promises into action. My vote will go to the candidate who has the political will, the commitment, the moral authority and the leadership to do what must be done to serve the interests of the majority, not the few in this country.

But I say, don’t listen to me. I’m only issuing an opinion. I say, let’s put democracy into action. Let’s vote independently in these elections.

When we were young, our father would attempt to influence the results of the election—-at least in our household. He would make sample ballots with the names of “his” candidates written on the blanks and distribute these to all of us—-of course, in the hope that we would blindly copy the names of his candidates on the actual ballots.

His attempts, of course, were always futile. He didn’t raise morons. Not that he didn’t know that—-but perhaps in his own sly, devious ways, he hoped that we might become lazy and simply copy the names off his sample ballots. But we were smarter than he thought—-we smelled his plot from a mile away. We accepted his sample ballots but we voted independently anyway.

My father no longer makes sample ballots for us. But he does ask us who we are voting for. There are daily round-table discussions and debates conducted at the dining table but he no longer tries to tell us who to vote for. He now understands that whatever he says, we will vote independently anyway.

I guess he’s given up on dictatorship in our household. It is difficult for dictatorship to flourish in a household populated by strong, stubborn and independent women. The candidate who wins in our household definitely wins by popular vote not by command vote.

I think we should adopt the same attitude in our country. Let democracy prevail. Let the candidates campaign. Let them present their platforms to the electorate. Let them debate. Let them throw brickbats at each other. Let’s see who prevails. Let’s show the world we are intelligent voters—-that we know how to separate fact from fiction, riffraff from legitimate issues.

Come May, let’s vote independently. Let us not allow our family members, relatives, neighbors, friends, radio commentators and newspaper columnists to decide for us who to vote for. Let us not fight over whose candidate is better. We all get one vote. Let’s use that vote wisely and independently.

(sunstarcebucolumnist@yahoo.com)