Tuesday, July 23, 2024

More Than Just Numbers

by the Weekly Sillimanian | April 27, 2022

We only have less than two weeks until the national and local elections and the rush is apparent given the number of political rallies happening recently.

Despite the era of the internet, rallies have persisted because of their ability to help constituents make decisions on who to vote for. However, we cannot ignore that these gatherings have also devolved due to a few factors.

First, let us think about how rallies originated. Before the present day’s boom of information from television and social media, rallies were the way for voters to hear about candidates’ plans for their constituents. At the time, these gatherings were the best way for less urbanized areas to get first-hand information on political candidates.

Today, we may have the internet as a tool to help us access information whenever. However, not everything we read online is factual — and this is one reason why rallies are still prevalent.

One issue observers have against political rallies is their program flow. Apparently, guest performers are given more time onstage than the candidates themselves. While having celebrities perform during these events is a great way to keep attendees entertained while informed, we should not ignore this imbalance. 

The attendees themselves also ought to reevaluate their intentions when going to these rallies. As per our experience joining these gatherings, some attendees were heard to only be there for fun or to see celebrities. Some have even compared these rallies to festivals like Coachella. While there is nothing wrong with adding fun to a matter that is often perceived as serious like politics, attendees must not forget their social responsibility to pay attention to what candidates have to say. This is crucial in forming logical decisions on who to vote for.

Lastly, we cannot ignore that rallies are being treated as a numbers game — a contest to see which party is able to collect the biggest crowds. This is apparent in social media posts, some even by news outlets, that celebrate specific numbers right after a political rally. For statistical reasons, there is nothing wrong with counting these crowds. However, we need to put the same amount of emphasis on the plans the candidates presented during them.

Some people might ask why these factors should even matter when rallies have shown to effectively form voters’ decisions. However, it is their effectiveness that makes them volatile in the first place. Considering the aforementioned factors, it is easy for candidates, organizers, and attendees to focus on the wrong objectives. Again, rallies were devised to be a platform for candidates to present their plans to their constituents. So, we ought to keep our focus on that.

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