May 8, 2007

Rocking My Vote (Not!)

It’s almost midnight. I’m wide awake—and not liking it one bit! How can I when I can still hear blasts of mindless campaign jingles even in this ungodly hour? Obviously, the candidates have invaded Maytime dances (“kurudalan,” we call them here: you fence in—kudal—a vacant lot, dangle lights and a mirror ball, set up the sound system and presto! a roadside disco is born). As if they can rock their way into the ballot box!

I’d be really glad when the elections is over. For close to a month and a half now, I have been subjected to just about every “personalized” version of “Boom Tarat Tarat,” “Wowowee,” “Itaktak Mo” and the like. As if the original versions aren’t insufferable enough. I happen to have the misfortune of living in a village where everybody is practically a candidate—and those blasted jingles are the first things I've been waking up to recently. Ever heard “patriotic,” “religious” versions of these inanities? Listen closely, and you will find election cliches like “makatao,” makabansa” and “maka-Diyos” tastelessly woven into equally tasteless songs.

I wonder: do platforms still translate into votes? Or does anybody still listen to serious campaign stuff? (Okay, the other day, I tried my best to. But when a candidate started to challenge another with "correct me if I'm right," I suddenly remembered that I had to shave my armpits.) Tragic, but these days, it isn't so much about plans and prospects as digging dirt and mudslinging.

Today's elections are obviously not the sacred political exercise that they should be. Voters' education is a losing proposition. In most cases, it is the same people (or the same kind of people) who get elected anyway. Yesterday, on my way to the office, I passed by the house of two candidates. The queue outside--mostly of women lugging large bags and small children--is depressing. They are obviously there to ask for something: for anything, as a matter of fact. (An exasperated ex-candidate had this story: there was this large contingent who went to his house, asking for money. When he told them he had no money, they asked for rice. When he told them he had no rice, the crowd pointed to the cheesecloth being prepped as banners. They'd settle for the cheesecloth, they said.)

Ugh! Times like this makes me feel that there really should be a law limiting the number of people who can vote. This way, politicians won't resort to gimmicks, voters won't make like beggars and the 45-day campaign period won't be the agony that it is.

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