HOW does the country really look to its own people?

This is almost like asking how people look at themselves. And election time is always a good chance to look at ourselves, each time to find something wrong in our governance which, according to Wikipedia, are “decisions which define expectations, grant power, or verify performance.”

We complain through the years, many times without lifting a finger, and we don’t take the chance to reflect more deeply, not even for a chance to do something about it by choosing a good leader on election time.

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We vote for the noise, the color, the beautiful faces, the campaign songs during sorties. To the three Gs in traditional politics (Guns, Goons and Gold) is added Glitter.

An angry blogger signed as admin says, “turds can never shine. They need stars to give their campaign some shine.” As for the celebrity endorsers, another blogger says, “They just distract people from the crucial task of seriously evaluating the candidates.”

We don’t look twice at the promises politicians swear to do, nor bother to really look to see what kind of leaders the candidates make, or what they have done to fit into a position.

We fall for the bandwagon effect because we always love a party, anyway. Isn’t it the more, the merrier?

So a friend in Chicago asked if we have to stay away in some stranger’s country to look back and miss what we had and then from that distance, in a situation beyond our hold, try to help as a Pinoy.

The friend, who had then just arrived in Chicago, joined an organization of Filipinos and went to its first meeting with a lot of expectations. She thought of projects that would help send Filipino children in the towns, or in slum areas in the city, to school. In the informal conversation of Pinoys who had been out of the country for a short time or for years, one of them said he had just visited home and complained about his terrible experience with Manila traffic. Before my friend knew it, everyone in the meeting was complaining and griping about the old country.

In fact, you don’t have to go far in looking up blogs where we see ourselves small.

The term “traditional politician” means, said a blogger, “backstabbing, crying, moaning, begging, pleading, forgiving, killing, hugging, blowing, sucking, tugging, fucking, smoking, snorting, shooting, stealing.”

Twelve descriptions of a trapo are what bloggers readily cited when asked the question of who is a trapo. One description of a trapo is the politician who is “unexplainably rich,” according to another blogger who signed in as 0_0. At the end of the list, s/he makes a note, “This is by no means an exhaustive list.”

One blogger who calls himself jundp says that trapo “is the spanish word for rag and is defined as a piece of cloth used for cleaning, washing, or dusting ..so, most of the time it is dirty ..”

After being elected to a position, says blogger Shamma, “no change will take place. Same old corruption stories, same old injustices, same old same old same old… that’s how i understand what a trapo…”

A blogger named Martin says, “First of all its Corruption, second Poverty and third Education. Our Streets can tell you why.”

A blogger called Methinks is feeling hopeless. The problem of graft and corruption, s/he says “will always be in the Philippines—that is all the people know and understand.”

Blogger Axie says, “These so called presidentiables are all fake (hypocrite) in a sense that they claimed themselves as pro poor but sad to say it is other way around just pretending ‘coz we could not see in their works that they are truly a pro poor.”

The voices you hear in these comments are young; they use mobile phones and the cell’s grammar. In many ways, as future leaders and followers, it’s the country talking through them.

Are there bloggers left who see hope somewhere?

(ecuizon@gmail.com)