The other day, I told you about the Things I hate about elections in the Philippines, and I promised to let you know about the things I like about elections here. To be honest, this is one of the most difficult articles that I have ever written, because it is very hard to think of anything that I like about the elections here!
I admit that I am enjoying the elections here more this year, though, and for several reasons that I will explain about.
I have lived here in the Philippines for 10 years (almost, my 10 year anniversary here is coming up soon), and this is my 4th election here (National and Local elections, not including Barangay elections). I have gone from being pretty ambivalent in the past to actually kind of excited about it this time around, for the first time.
So, to be honest, I can’t give you a list of things that I love, or even enjoy about the elections here, although here is a list of some of the things that are making it a bit more enjoyable and holding my interest this time around:
- I feel that I have a connection to society here.
In the past, I have always kind of felt an outsider here. I lived here, I loved it here, and I enjoyed much about the place, but when it came to things like elected officials and anything official about society, I pretty much felt that I was an outsider. While I still feel that I don’t have a place, or any standing in order to speak out and give my preferences, I do feel that the elections play a role in my life. Who gets elected will have an impact on my life, because although I am not a citizen, the fact that I live here means that things like government policies affect the way I live. I have favorites in all of the races that affect me, although I do not share my opinions or favorites. It is not my place to campaign for people, or even express my preferences, because I am not a citizen.
- I have friends who are involved in some of the races.
Not any close friends, but there are some people whom I consider friends who are also running for offices. And, some of them are running for relatively high offices in the Philippines. I know a number of people in local elections, and even in national elections. Because of the reasons I mentioned in #1 above, I will not say who they are, and I will never endorse them or even write about them or my friendship with them. I don’t feel that would be appropriate. In my talks with people I know who are running, I have not even told them that I hope they will win or anything of the sort, although I am sure they know that I am pulling for them. Several of the people that I know who are running for office are people whom I believe to be very honest, and have the best of intentions in their political campaigns. I believe honestly that if they are elected, they have the best of intentions to fulfill their duties honestly and honorably. So, I certainly am interested and excited to watch as they run, and I hope that they do well.
- Watching as Democracy develops.
Although the Philippines has been an Independent Democracy for nearly 60 years now, it is a young Democracy, and let’s face it, a fledgling Democracy. Sometimes things here don’t seem very Democratic, and I enjoy watching as Democracy takes a stronger foothold in the Philippines, and I hope to see it as Democracy gains strength and more honestly and goodwill comes to office. In many ways, I feel like I am watching the Philippines head up the hill toward Democracy that can be held at the peak of the hill, while I watch the USA as it heads downhill after already achieving the summit. In the past decade or two, Democracy in my home country has become all about hatred, fighting and not much getting done. It would seem that the USA is in a state of decline, and it is my hope that the Philippines is headed up the hill toward the Democracy that I hope to see it achieve.
So, these are a few of the reasons that I feel like this election cycle in the Philippines is of more interest to me than the past three elections cycles that I have lived through here. I honestly can’t say that there are any things that I actually love about the elections here, but these are a few of the things that keep them interesting for me.
What do you think? Are there things that you love or hate about elections in the Philippines. What about things that just drive you crazy?