Wednesday, December 7, 2022

An Open Letter to the First-Time Voters

by John Macklien Olandag | October 16, 2021

To you who braved the long queues,

Yesterday, you watched those live debates from our hopefuls. You were all ears, asking Mom and Dad who they were voting for. Some of you may have just been carefree kids who found pleasure in simply seeing the faces of the candidates on flyers or tarpaulins. You danced happily as those political jingles were aired in your television or radio sets, or when those motorcades with big megaphones passed by the street while you were playing with your friends. You had seen, heard, and felt enough politics. 

Growing older, I know your discernment also progressed. You find the playful jingles too lame if not traditional, or those oratorical deliveries of promises from candidates, a subject of your skepticism. You’re exposed enough to know that it’s not through these campaigns that our country would progress.

Here you are now, aside from celebrating your debuts or having your many firsts in adulthood, at the age where you’ll directly determine the deserving leaders to sit in that office maintained by public funds. You’ve had enough of politics. You’re already chasing after that person who will represent your outcries and sentiments.

I was and still am with you in your journey. I glued myself on the television set, or moved my body to the beat of those jingles, thinking that every candidate is a worthy shepherd of their pasture. But growing up, I realized that not everyone can defend their sheep from attacking wolves. 

I’ll be casting my votes for the first time next year. As this moment of ours draws near, we are and will be undergoing tribulations of deceit, temptation, and possible rifts between our loved ones because of political beliefs—but remember those jingles, those promises, and those live campaigns. Have they kept their words? Were they truthful as they seemingly looked at you with those smiles and honeyed words? If it’s a no, then do not repeat that history. Learn from it and trod through roads not taken.

Do not be deceived by their massive popularity. Many are itching to target the ordinary masses considering that they compose a big chunk of the voting population, but look at their records. Look at how they treat both the rich and the poor when cameras are absent. Take a look at their personal leanings as well. Their beliefs will really reflect on how they will lead their constituents.

Remember the onion-skinned figures. They should not be in the position any longer, or else we will shed tears as their skins gradually peel off further.

Do not settle with someone who fabricates their credentials to come out as prestigious. Do not lean with someone who has no comprehensive domestic and international policies. Choose a shepherd who tends their flock lovingly and is brave enough to defend their sheep from wolves.

Have your own checklist, just as you do when finding your ideal guy or gal. Research the candidates’ backgrounds and enacted laws if they were representatives. Do not rely on plain folks’ words or from those materials coming from unverified sources. Like I have mentioned, as elections are nearing, we undergo tribulations, but we’re already fed up with the last six years of impunity and conservatism. We need a progressive leader who is honorable, decent, and has sound integrity.

Declare 2022 as your year of victory. We finally can partake in installing rightful public servants while ousting the incompetent ones. 

We need a leader, not a politician. 

In these hard times, there are no heroes; only public servants filled with love (quoting Gen. Gregorio del Pilar using today’s context).

Let’s altogether go for progress and a government that is indeed on the people, by the people, and for the people.

Your fellow rook,

Macklien

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