Like a stubborn rash, two key concepts continue to infect the vacuous halls of the Philippine National “Debate”.
It is a “Good vs Evil” election – The Top Media Emo couldn’t have said it better: “The choice is between life and death. The choice is between the vista of hell and the glimpse of heaven. The choice is between Aquino and Villaroyo. […] The choice is between Good and Evil.” (Conrado de Quiros, Inquirer, 09 Feb 2010)
It is about winnability and the lowest common denominator is the “lesser evil”; therefore vote for Noynoy Aquino, the “stupid [but] honest” choice, presumably. That’s Filipino Logic 101, and no one exploits it better than whoever happens to be the “Opposition” in any Philippine-style election. As I observed in A Buffet of Evils;
It seems that the options presented by the Philppine “Opposition” election in and election out is a buffet of evils from which the Filipino is forever selecting the least from. It is quite telling how a nation of almost 100 million cannot seem to produce even just a handful of excellent candidate leaders of the sort that will turn our elections into ones where the voter selects the best of breed. Thus we are, in fact, a society that has doomed itself to selecting among lesser evils rather than from the best of breed. But this is not even the laughable point in all this. It turns out that this buffet of evils from which we select the least evil is, guess what, up against an even bigger evil!
It’s interesting, though, how the way one’s mind works depends so much on which side of the fence one finds himself situated in at a given time. Courtesy of commentor “boombox” in a recent comment and PinoyExchange.com denizens, I found this Conrado de Quiros gem vintage 2004:
I don’t buy the concept of the “wasted vote.” The only wasted vote as far as I can see is the one you give to a candidate you do not believe in simply because you think he or she has a chance to win. That is boundless waste, not least because it stands to waste the country. To this day, I do not regret not having voted for Erap in 1998. To this day, I do not see that I wasted my vote voting for somebody else. If there was any “wasted vote,” it was the one that went to Erap. That is so not just because he never got to finish his term but because people voted for him simply because “he was going to win anyway” whatever they did. People who do not want to appear like fools by voting for a “weak candidate” are on a straight path to it.
Indeed, just as de Quiros back when he was using his head stated categorically that his vote against popular presidential candidate Joseph Estrada in 1998 (despite the odds of his candidate at the time winning) was not a wasted vote, a vote against Noynoy Aquino today is not a wasted one as well. Noynoy Aquino, as I recall writing, is the modern-day Erap — immensely popular, possessing of a cultural mystique, yet utterly visionless as far as a regard for the future goes. And as with most societies that have strong track records of progress, the future is what selecting a leader is all about. Unfortunately for a backward society such as the Philippines, retrospection is a far more comfy space to live within.
So I suppose a scenario such as this may probably ring hollow in the vacuous mind of the Filipino:
Sometime in the future when your children ask you why you voted for Noynoy Aquino in 2010, what are you gonna tell them?