Mar 10, 2008

OPINION: An appeal for new politics in the DLSU General Elections

IN THE PAST FEW DAYS, I've received e-mail messages coming from people seeking elective posts in our student council. I will not name the individuals, though it doesn't take a genius to see that the senders each come from opposing camps. However, it is clear from the content of these messages that there is a clear and marked agenda to gain the sympathy of the potential voter. Let me say something about this: while each of them promise to deliver change to our proud university, I am quite sure that NONE of them are any different from the politicians we fight against in the streets and in the proud halls of our University. On one hand, there is a self-righteous individual who insists that he/she can deliver change along with his/her running-mates, when others had APPARENTLY failed at doing so. Following that, an email condemning the apparent "bashing" insisted that Lasallians should vote based on platform and "not anything else".

This sort of behavior should stop now. SHAME ON YOU, CANDIDATES. You should know better than that! Where is your maturity, your discernment of what is moral and immoral, your sense of responsibility and your sincere desire for genuine change? Is this your idea of "Lasallian Achievers for God and Country"?

Yes, I am angry. This is indeed a case of righteous indignation at what is happening today. I am angry at the fact that a number Lasallians have not learned the basics of good governance - that truth, accountability and responsibility go hand-in-hand. I am angered at the fact that we have REFUSED to learn the lessons taught to us by decades of history, that nothing goes well when we allow our sympathies cloud our judgment, especially when it comes to the elections. I am angered by the realization that we have time and time again, voiced out our desire for change to happen in the nation, WITHOUT US REMEMBERING THAT CHANGE BEGINS IN OURSELVES. But worst of all, I am angry at myself for not speaking out earlier against this sort of hypocrisy. I've protected the integrity of the national and local elections as a VFORCE Volunteer, been on the streets insisting that the truth on election fraud come out, and campaigning in-campus for students to vote based on principles and platform. However, I've remained silent on the blatant insult of Lasallians' sensibilities, on our ability to condemn the evils done on the country while remaining blind of the things done in the university, believing it to be some sort of sanctuary... without knowing that one day, the tolerance of such a mindset would lead to us doing the very same things that we loath of now. I wonder how it feels like to one day be the savior, only to be the villain on the next?

Candidates, and maybe even the incumbents, focus on your platforms. Live out the politics of service, not the politics of hate. Gain the trust of us voters, instead of trying to destroy the trust we have of others. We want vote based on who we think can serve us the best, NOT based on who is the "lesser evil". Spend less time and money campaigning and more time listening to your constituents. I mean LISTEN; don't insist that we need one thing or another just because you think so! Then ACT! You are the voice of the student body; a mute and deaf student council is as good as not having a student council at all. We might as well all be anarchists in that case. Convince us that you are needed, not that you need us... appeal to our intellect, not to our emotions.

Voters, carefully weigh the value of what each candidate says. As mature and educated Lasallians, I trust that we have the ability to appraise a person on his/her values, principles, track record and history, not based on a few words, a single statement, or a PR campaign. As voting constituents, we are directly affected by the programs and policies the student council decides to implement and/or fight for. Should we make the wrong choice, we share the blame for making the SC as it is. Almost as a consolation, we are given the assurance that we have the power to ensure that only the right people come into power. Wield the ballot as a shield and the pen as a sword. A legion of educated voters against traditional politics can do much to make a La Salle we would live for and be proud of for all time - one that molds the LEADERS of tomorrow that we so badly need today, not the TRAPOS of today that we hope are gone tomorrow.

In the end though, it is all a matter of choice. Whether we decide to take the difficult and correct choices is something that will determine where we will be in the future. ANIMO LASALLE!

-Edgar John Ilaga

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