We get fooled sometimes

Just a few blog entries before we leave for the US in a few hours. It’s been a week since elections were held in the Philippines. And true, there appears to be numerous things to be content with. There’s this redeeming feeling in the triumph of opposition senatorial candidates over those of President Gloria Arroyo’s, though there is still the very obvious attempt by the present administration at manipulating the final results. There’s also delight in seeing new actors defeating traditional actors in the political arena in various local elections around the country. Mong Palatino of Kabataan Party, however, recently wrote about how though there are instances where there appears to be progress in the way our democratic elections are held and conducted, we should not be illusioned into believing that our democracy is “finally working”. That though once in a while traditional oligarchs are defeated in some localities, hundreds more continue to reign in many other parts of the country.

He likened our politicians to burgers, coke and fries. Regularly, consumers are offered variations and additional sauces and whatnot. But they are still burgers, coke and fries. In the same way, traditional actors simply morph and rebrand or repackage themselves–say, as youthful and idealistic new breeds–but continue to be the same kind of bureaucrats their forefathers actually were.

There’s this nagging and persistent pessimism, at least in me, that there remains much to be changed, that for as long as elections continue to be an exercise where the wealthy simply compete against each other, and for as long as powers that be continue to manipulate results, it isn’t truly democratic.

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