[OPINION] How can apoliticals enter politics?

Deciding not to criticize the faults of the current administration is freedom of choice, but not acknowledging social injustices while aiming for a position in the government is an outright ignorance of the truth. 

With everything that's going on, how can one be a mere bystander? How can a politician be an advocate of change without condemning the broken system? Politics may be a confusing world altogether, but not choosing sides when you want to get involved in the affairs of the state is kind of ironic, especially if you're given a huge platform to influence people.

Now that we're nearing the 2022 elections, many politicians have expressed their desire to run for higher positions. Several well-known names and public figures with millions of followers on social media have resurfaced once again to express their intentions to be part of the presidential elections next year. 

Despite the public uproar against the present administration, some politicians who expressed their desire to lead the nation apparently have reservations when it comes to criticizing the faults of the government. For instance, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno's running mate, Willie Ong, a doctor who turned out to be a politician, says he doesn't want to get involved in the political drama and wants to save lives during the pandemic instead.

Apoliticals aren’t just ordinary Filipinos who have chosen not to engage in any political discourse but also mere politicians who want to lead the country without recognizing the mistakes of the government. But, when you keep yourself blinded by the current injustices, how can you respond to the needs of your fellowmen? 

How can you save lives when you don't want to make the government responsible for its failed pandemic response? While we're in a whirlwind of lockdowns amid mishandling of funds, many of us are becoming hopeless. We have built a culture of blaming and criticizing, but despite how “woke” we have become, it wouldn't matter if we don't translate our rants into actions. 

Social media platforms have made it easier for people to voice out their opinions and criticisms in real time. It's irrational to even say that one is not aware of the current issues affecting the country. Yet, many Filipinos still fall prey to what they see online without getting their facts straight.

There is not a day we have scrolled through our social media feeds without seeing news updates and shared posts about corrupt government officials, stolen pandemic funds, and overpriced/expired face shields, among others. 

Despite blatantly tweeting hashtags against the government, do our opinions really matter outside these social media platforms? Yes, and that is where our right to vote for a decent administration takes place. 

Many Filipinos are disheartened just by merely thinking about what lies ahead after the elections. Most of us are already fed up with the false promises and blatant lies that are repeatedly thrown in our faces. Ultimately, if we don’t criticize and just let this kind of leadership persist, there will be more suffering and death. 

The chaotic political dynamics in the country turned many into apoliticals who are now tired of all the drama that's happening. People are now desperate to get out of this pandemic hellhole. And we are hopelessly longing for a real and honest government, not one masked with self-serving ambitions. 

Running for national elections doesn't entitle anyone to just pick one from the countless problems waiting to be solved. Even if you won as president or vice president of the country, your power is not limited to the issues you feel comfortable resolving just because it’s your expertise per se. 

As a public servant, you should exhibit the eagerness to recognize the brokenness of the previous administration to be able to start a new one. Above all, the first step to fixing the system is admitting that it is broken. There is always someone who should be held accountable for the consequences, instead of passing the burden on to the people.

As the famous poet Thomas Gray once said, “Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.” One of our biggest mistakes is to ever let a dictator sit in power and brutally take away our democratic freedom. If we continue to tolerate the same kind of leadership that tramples on our right to justice and equality, we will still end up suffering from corruption and human rights abuses.

Yes, we all hate politics, one way or another. But we’re all living in a democratic nation where one has the free will to speak up and raise awareness on different forms of social injustice. This is not the time to go back to the gloomy era when we were silenced and deprived of the truth. 

While it is true that no amount of guilt can bring back the lives of many, having someone be accountable for the mismanaged pandemic response will somehow shed light on these dark times. – Rappler.com

Cathlyn Mae Botor is a full-time web content specialist and a travel content writer on the side. She is a graduate of BA Speech Communication from UP Diliman.