I was reading rafterman‘s insightful piece on the Wowowee idiocracy that goes by the name “the Philippines” and it suddenly hit me that the real election that we really need to have in our sad society does not involve selecting our politicial leader. Indeed, the nature of the whole debate that underpins this year’s elections fails to live up to the whole point of a democratic election: selecting a leader. Instead, what we have been seeing is not an election where people vote for a leader but one where people vote against someone.
The moronic tagline that continues to stick like a stubborn barnacle to the vacuous sensibilities of the Philippine electorate is the whole good-versus-evil spiel. Through a clever play into the victim mentalities of a people with a strong tradition of exhibiting an utter inability to take control over their own destinies, the incumbent president, Gloria Arroyo, and her administration have been made into the Evil Empire over years of substance-deficited drivel delivered by a handful of our societies influential demagogues.
As such the supposed “hope” for a new Philippines (that drivel I mentioned above) came in many different forms over those years — new incarnations of People Power “revolutions”, impeachment movements, and various rallies, mass gestures, statements, petitions, and their accompanying symbols and icons all aiming to express “indignation” or “solidarity” against one “evil” or another. The way the people behind these moronisms presumed to wield some kind of moral authority to classify the good and the evil was and IS breathtaking. Their success all but made the branding of these different thrusts or labans against the Evil Empire as standing for the “Good”, the “Righteous”, and the “Brave” a walk in the park.
With that in mind, step back from all the noise of today’s national “debate” and take stock. With just three months until the next presidential election and the so-called “official” beginning of the campaign period, it is quite plain to see that there is nothing about what any of the candidates claim to stand for that points to any real prospect of change in this sad country of ours. For one thing, those much promised platforms (at the quality recommended) haven’t been published. Second, and as a direct consequence of the first, there is nothing that describes what the Philippines of 2016 is envisioned to look like. Sure, six years is too far ahead to look, specially for a people who can’t plan their way out of a paper bag; but it doesn’t hurt to have a vision. Having a plan is what sets apart the executives from the mere administrators, and having a vision is what sets apart true leaders from mere executives.
Of course we know that. Trouble is the electorate, our politicians, and their distinguished cadre of demagogues don’t — which is why the sameness of just about every Philippine election decade in and decade out has simply gone banal.
So if selecting a leader is not really the sort of election the Filipino needs, what sort of election does she need?
I propose we focus more on electing our Media.
As the rafter-meister pointed out, what really exerts the most influence on the vacuous minds of our intellectually-bankrupt society is the Media. Variety shows like Wowowee routinely reward stupid behaviour, telenovelas glamourise victimisation, Philippine cinema so effectively stigmatise wealth, and news programs like Bandila turned packaging tragedies and disasters into colourful eye-candy into a science.
As I wrote in my book;
[…] the fact remains that between the Filipino masses and the captains of the entertainment industry, it is the latter – the producers, studio owners, and artists – who are in a position to be agents of change. This is a bit of an idealistic expectation and a stretch given that we have just about entrusted cultural leadership to private enterprise.
So now, which institution do you now think is in a better position to effect change? The Office of the President? Or the Philippine Media? In a sense we have the power to elect both. We elect presidents with the ballot and we elect our Media with our remotes.
Consider how easy it is to twist the arm of the Philippine Media then. All one needs to do is elect to change the channel, stop watching their lame movies, and routinely call out the stupid inanities written by our esteemed journalists. It’s certainly far less distruptive than electing presidents. And you get more bang for your vote with your remote.
So let’s get out there and elect whatever presidential bozo we want to elect. Keep in mind that at the end of the day, there is no convincing evidence of a strong causal relationship between who is president and the probability that our sad society will prosper. But the quality of our Media products and the effect these have on the Filipino Mind does!
So go where the bang is bigger for your buck:
Vote with your remote!
Get this election over with. Elect some bozo to that lucrative seat in Malcanang and get over it. The real election worth our buck is being glossed over because it involves the very source of livelihood of the very people who contribute mightily to the intellectual stunting of our society.