Now that was one big nasty campaign period! As I write this piece, the winner for the presidential elections is clearly Mayor Duterte, while we still await with bated breath the results for the Vice Presidential race, with Congresswoman Leni Robredo leading by a slight margin over Senator Bongbong Marcos. Of course, you know who I’m rooting for! LINK
I wish to share some observations on the 2016 elections:
- The elections went on smoothly. If you’re watching our elections as an outsider, you might get the impression that it’s mired by irregularities because almost everything that’s on the news are the not so good news – complaints here and there, some are valid, some are not. Let’s remember that the reason why it becomes news is that it’s the unusual. It’s just that our human brain easily forgets that. What we’re bombarded with becomes what is norm.
- Elections are fiestas. We, as a nation, love to party! We celebrate Christmas for over a month. We have so many public holidays – we celebrate feast days of saints and heroes and what have you. Elections seem to be another big excuse to parteh! It’s a time to get together (how many online groups were formed for this purpose? And how many groups did you become a member of?), say your piece, worthy or not, listen to what others have to say and have all sorts of exchange. Watching the miting de avance of all the candidates made me wonder, “Where did all these people come from? Or are we really that congested now?” In stark contrast, I once experienced being in New York on an election day, it was the re-election of Pres. Obama in 2012 and it was business as usual. If I remember it correctly, it was not a public holiday in NYC. However, during my visit to the US last April, it seemed that all tv shows were talking about the elections which is still scheduled in November. And you guessed it right, Trump is getting a huge chunk of the airtime.
- Campaign discussions reveal a lot about the people around us and ourselves. I’m sure most of you were surprised with the choices that your family and friends made during the elections. People whom you thought shared the same views and values with you are suddenly humming an opposite tune. Well, that’s how they see you too. We all have our way of making our argument sound logical in order to fit it into our choices.
- We are patient and kind people. Despite the rabid campaign period besieged with bullying, name-calling, etc., the actual election day (at least in most precincts) was peaceful. In the four different precincts where our family of five voted, the lines were orderly, the teachers and volunteers were helpful keeping the cheer despite the heat and the physical exhaustion. I also admire the Comelec Chairman Bautista and his people who seem to keep their cool.
- Quick counts and conceding accelerate the cooling down of avid supporters. The quick counts are very helpful. Thank God for automation. I can still remember the days when votes were painstakingly counted using Manila paper where the canvassers counted 1-2-3-4-slash (“/” to symbolize the 5th scoring stick), day in and day out, then allegations of cheating from all camps who were losing, while killings continue to rise. At least now, we see the results right away, then we see the losing candidates conceding. The supporters take the lead from their candidates.
- Never underestimate a housewife! Time and again, we see how the homemaker rises up to power. In our history, we’ve seen one topple a well entrenched and seemingly forever in power dictator. Although Cong. Leni was not a full-time stay at home mom (she was a human rights lawyer) before she entered politics, she always tells us how she is the tutor, driver, etc. of her daughters. With 95% of votes already counted, we may also say that “History tends to repeat itself!” – i.e. another widow toppling a Marcos.
- We need to educate the public what they’re voting for. I wonder if majority of the electorate understands the job descriptions of the posts that they’re filling up with their votes. What does it entail to be a president? A Vice President? Do they know that a Senator needs to know the constitution and should know how to craft laws? It seems like they don’t; otherwise, we wouldn’t see some of the names we’re seeing now.
- The emotional tug is still what counts. No matter how rational we think we are, it’s always our emotions that prevail when we make important choices in life.
With that roller coaster ride behind us, let’s prepare for the real battle. If you still need to mourn a little, do so with the right people, no need to post publicly as you may unnecessarily open wounds. Then buckle up because our prosperity ultimately depends on us.
I will speak at the Financial Wellness Program of Security Bank on May 19, 2016 at 9:30 am and 2pm.
Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Images from Philstar.com, telesurtv.net, voanews.com