UNTIL something breaks, I will belabor the point that we have two gaping chasms to bridge to get to a place we could call genuine democracy. Our myth of a democracy lacks the two essentials of majority rule and proportionate representation.
The just concluded midterm elections showcased once more a flawed system where only the very rich can run for office and win by simple majority or getting more votes than rivals.
What makes this system hard to buck is an elitist culture that looks down on the poor and uneducated farmer-worker sector as incompetent and unworthy of representing themselves in government.
The opposition’s reaction to General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa’s candidacy is illustrative of this snobbery. At the candidates’ forum, I empathized with sincere and unassuming General Bato after the disdainful way well-heeled opposition candidates tried to reduce him to size. Yet, he is a general, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy and holder of post-graduate degrees. He must have been snubbed for his lack of anything that even faintly hints of an upper class pedigree.
I did not expect him to win, but when he did I was not at all surprised at the same snobbish reception he got from losers. In pre-judging him as incompetent, they also looked down with disdain on folk who voted for him. His honesty in admitting he is clueless about lawmaking only added fuel to the fire.
To think that Bato has more educational and experiential qualification than boxer Manny Pacquiao and actor Joseph Estrada. To think also that Senator Ping Lacson went directly from being National Police director general to senator and is faring well.
With such elitist snobbery in our culture what chances have unschooled poor farmers and workers of getting representation in government? Nothing, zero, zilch, nada. So what democracy are oligarchs and supporters saying died with the latest elections? There has never been a democracy to kill but only a democracy to struggle to bring to full life.
But how can we have rule of the mostly poor majority, how can we have proportionate representation for them when we are so snobbish that we can’t even accept a policeman, albeit a PMA graduate and of star rank, as worthy of a seat in the Senate?
Something that has never existed, like democracy in this country, could not have died with the results of the midterm elections as alleged by society’s snobs and their supporters. If anything General Bato’s election could be the stirring of life by a still to be born democracy.
We need heart (for the poor) not smarts (for self-interest) from our elected officials. We need to toss snobbery and let in democracy’s two essentials of majority rule and proportionate representation.