Prints and Traces

The campaign is reduced to a purely ego-tripping affair, making use of advertising and marketing strategies designed for winning the contest at all costs.  It is not a venue for informing and mobilizing the people for a discernment of particular social illnesses which have been there for so long.

By DON J. PAGUSARA
Davao Today

One wonders: what are the real intentions of politicians in running for public office.  It would be highly presumptuous for them to claim they are motivated by the desire to serve the people.  Their modus operandi in the campaigns belies this.

Every election time this mode of conducting electoral campaigns is not unlike a carnival show.  In the streets, a colorful parade highlighted by a float loaded with the candidates side by side with movie stars and rock artists.  And in the rallies, the crowds are fed with entertainment acts where songs, dances, acrobatics and comic skits abound.

Their highly-paid TV ads provide us with transparent basis for definitive  statements of lament that we are just being served with all sorts of image-building fare, flavored with  phrases of “I am this kindly person” that spotlight them in well-scripted “charitable deeds of mercy” among poor residents in squalid communities.

Verily, these image-shaping media exposures intoxicate us.  We are systematically drugged to direct our focus on the personality factor rather than on the concrete analysis of concrete conditions which ought to serve as basis for concrete action plans aimed at bettering the quality of life of the masses.

Never have we heard any presentation of a party platform or a comprehensive program of action to be pursued with purposeful zeal and vigor towards eliminating the poverty menace of our society.

They are all extra eager to sell themselves as icons with outstanding qualities of mind and heart — each one intensely hot in celebrating his/her personality plusses, not the ways and steps by which social disorders could be remedied and cured or in order that society may be propelled forward.

The campaign is reduced to a purely ego-tripping affair, making use of advertising and marketing strategies designed for winning the contest at all costs.  It is not a venue for informing and mobilizing the people for a discernment of particular social illnesses which have been there for so long.

And so, if winning is the sole objective, the electoral campaign fails to educate the masses for a truly informed and intelligent vote.

What matters as a natural course of action is to devise means by hook or by crook to garner winning votes.  In which case, instead of selling their concrete action plans, they engage in buying votes.  In worse scenarios, they resort to harassments and even killings.

They have become veritable merchants of deceit and devilry.

Politicians should begin to be sincerely sensitive and keen to the people’s awakening demand for genuine Change.  They should begin to realize that the people are seriously interested not in their glamorous image of popularity, but in what they concretely plan to do to eliminate poverty and backwardness in our society.

They should put a stop to the cycle of frustrations that pile up in the minds and hearts of the citizenry after their expectations are all gone with the wind and what they invariably collect are empty shells and broken bottles from the gutters that drain the politicians’ promissory words.

At the end of their terms, not a symptom of the same long-standing social ailment is removed.  Naturally, if there’s no symptomatic relief, what cure of the disease can be expected?

In fine, politicians should put to mind and heart that the people stake their most sublime hopes and dreams, solemn faith and trust, in the votes they cast which, in the hour-glass of our political history might be the only narrow gap that separates impatience from revolution.

Don J. Pagusara is a native of Mindanao, a multi-awarded author and a Palanca-awardee.

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