I Vote Because I matter

22 Nov

I couldn’t help noticing that the Filipino people sometimes place too much faith on the government, and too little on themselves. We do not understand that the leaders are just there to lead, ultimately, it is the people who dictates the kind of country we live in. Some of us blindly follow and support candidates without even understanding the platforms that they are promoting. In fact, I think that these kinds of unquestioning support, sometimes become the cause for honest leaders to get drowned by the thirst for power. Publicly and passionately defending candidates, without really understanding their proposals is as dangerous as defending the acts of terrorists as misled love for their religion. 

After all, what could work for one city could have different effects on the other 121 cities in the Philippines. I recognize the need for discipline, for this is what every country needs to thrive, not just ours. But we have to understand that the solution doesn’t end there. Placing too much burden on one group of people without taking responsibility ourselves, won’t give us the change that our nation obviously needs. 

Honestly, I’ve always shied away from politics, not because I didn’t find it interesting, but because I always found it disappointing. I know that our country needs a lot of work, but I just find it frustrating when people expect the government to change everything without even trying to contribute towards that change that they so badly want to happen.

Choosing good leaders is one step towards improving our government, but it doesn’t stop there. We, ourselves, should start doing little things for our country. First and foremost, we should walk the talk. We claim that we love the Philippines but we talk about leaving our home and working for the economy of another country. I grew up in an OFW family, and I understand the amount of sacrifice that my parents did so that we would be given a comfortable life. I know that Filipinos working abroad has greatly helped in the growth of our economy as well. And I have a huge respect for them. But, if we could only take the time to realize how much better our economy would be if our best engineers, and best scientists, and all the other Filipinos, who excel in their crafts, chose to contribute their minds to our country instead of work for the betterment of a different one. We blame the government, and to some extent, I do too. But, it all boils down to our own choices. All my life, I have grown up with older people telling me that the only way to be successful is by working abroad. And somehow, I’ve always defied that belief. If we would only love our country the way we love our families, we would be at par with countries like Singapore and Japan. 

We overthink when we talk about helping our country improve, when we should start by doing small and simple things like following traffic rules, both as a driver or as a pedestrian.  We should also make the effort of understanding and doing something about what we know. What is really happening to each region in our country? We should take upon ourselves to come up with little things that we could do to contribute towards solving these problems. The thirst for knowledge, when quenched, will bring us to a point of being able to help, not just in words, but in action.

Like for example, US President Obama, during the most recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, talked about helping the environment. This might sound trivial for those people who do not understand, but this is actually a very important issue that we should all let ourselves be involved in. All these calamities that have been plaguing our country is not just because of nature’s wrath, it is because of our refusal to do our parts in preserving nature. Climate change has caused super typhoons, earthquakes, and so many more devastating calamities. It shouldn’t take a science degree for us to understand that this is because we have abused nature to its breaking point. And if we continue to do this, then it would be like sealing our own fates with death. When we should realize that we don’t actually need elaborate and superlative actions to help. The simple act of throwing our garbage properly or not using too much of our electricity than what is needed, could already contribute a lot. We complain and complain that our leaders do not have the proper contingency plans for natural disasters, but we do not actually consider that we all had a larger hand in all these than we care to acknowledge.

I know that the burden of improving our country publicly falls into the hands of the government, but we, as Filipinos should take responsibility as well. If we want things to change, then we should start by changing ourselves first. We can start by choosing good leaders. And then, we could continue by trusting the leaders that the country chose. Your personal choice doesn’t always win, but after election, you should acknowledge and respect those people who won. By thinking that we all have one home, we could all finally be on the same page. Instead of criticizing every chance you get those people you did not vote for, take the time to recognize their efforts to help our country. There are no two sides or three sides or even sides to the government, there should only be one that we should ALL be in. We shouldn’t focus on the mistakes that our leaders make. Instead, let’s try to support in our own little ways the steps that they are making to get us to where we need to be.

Personally, I have chosen the candidate that I want to win as President of the Philippines, but I recognize that 6 years won’t be enough for this regime to radically change everything that needs to be changed. Instead of judging and pointing fingers, the Filipino people should really start supporting each other and understanding that we, as much as our leaders, have a hand in the betterment of our country.

All of us have a voice, loud or soft.

All of us have responsibilities to our country, simple or complex.

All of us can contribute, big or small.

We just have to be willing to love our country the way it deserves to be loved.

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