[OPINION] Can my vote make a difference?
Can my vote make a difference? This is the question that those who will be voting this coming elections often ask. The answer is: yes, of course. It may be one vote, but when added together with others, it will either plunge this nation deeper into a crisis or shed light amid the darkness.
What is really at stake? At the national level, a Senate that can either be the rubber stamp of a president who wants to continue his phony war on drugs through extrajudicial killings, a pro-China policy, tolerance of corruption and rabid anti-Church stance; or a Senate that can function as an independent branch of government, capable of checking total control and abuse of power.
This is no longer a matter of making a political choice, but rather a moral choice – between good and evil.
The victory of the administration’s candidates will lead this nation to a bottomless pit that will have consequences long after this president will be gone. This will mean the persistence of self-serving, incompetent, and corrupt political leaders incapable of bringing about progress, peace, and justice in the land. This will mean condemning this nation to perpetual poverty and subservience to the Chinese empire. This could ultimately lead to the growing radicalization of a people who have lost hope in the political and economic system and who will come to the realization that the only way out is a bloody revolution that will liquidate the ruling class and dynasties as a means of social transformation.
Many Filipino voters are easily influenced by the popularity of candidates who are entertainers or members of political dynasties. Many are easily manipulated by trolls on social media and by poll surveys. Many can be bought for a few hundred pesos, cans of sardines, and kilos of rice. Voters are easily fooled by candidates with messianic complex who promise change in a matter of months. It is easier to run for office than to apply for employment that requires college degrees, NBI clearance, civil service eligibility, etc. Thus, democracy becomes a farce that populist demagogues can exploit to get into power and perpetuate themselves in power.
To be able to make a difference for the good of all, we need to change the way we vote and influence others to do the same.
This will require much discernment. We should know the candidates – what they stand for, their track record, their competence. This requires listening to our conscience – to discern between those who are good and those who are evil or instruments of evil. This also means listening to our church leaders who have, time and time again, provided guidelines on how to vote without dictating who we should vote for.
We should reject candidates who are incompetent, dishonest, immoral, corrupt, greedy, who support the phony war on drugs, extra-judicial killings, the violation of human rights, martial law, all out war, the pro-China policies, anti-God and anti-Church stance of this administration and efforts to impose a dictatorial rule.
We have to vote for those who are competent, pro-life, pro-poor, pro-labor, pro-environment, pro-independent foreign policy, pro-God, and who defend democracy, the faith, and the Church. We should vote for those who genuinely love our country and have the vision and strategy to bring about genuine progress, justice, and peace.
We are voting for the future of our nation. Each good vote is a lighted candle in the dark. For those who made a mistake in the last elections by unwittingly supporting a pseudo-messiah, this is the time to redeem yourself. If we fail once again to vote intelligently and morally, we will be blamed for being complicit in evil and perpetuating this darkness for decades and decades to come.
The Filipino is like a carabao – he can patiently suffer much abuse, but will finally reach a breaking point, go amok, and go after its masters. A time will come when those oppressed for a long time will rise. Those responsible for the people’s suffering will pay. Change will ultimately come – whether it will be peaceful or violent will depend on us and how we vote at this moment in history. – Rappler.com
Father Amado Picardal is the executive secretary of the Episcopal Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
This piece was originally published on Father Amado Picardal's blog on May 4, 2019.
(Father Picardal's photo courtesy of CBCP News)