Saturday, 16 April 2016

Do not hijack democracy by voting mathematically

I admit I got a little bit snarky when I said to the tune of "voting is not gambling" in a supposedly light-hearted group chat. To my friends, I apologise for my language and allow me to step back for introspection.

Remember the failed presidential campaign of Dick Gordon in the last election? The only thing worse than losing because of supposedly young age (another then presidential candidate, Gibo Teodoro, retired from politics at age 45 after his loss) is losing because of supposedly lack of numbers. Poor guy was branded a loser before he got the chance to play ball, and in the real world, there's no Sandra Bullock to save you and live happily ever after. No no, the democracy in Philippine Oligarch Emirates is of a different brand.

And I blame the middle class for the prevalence of this erroneous thought. In Democracy, every citizen is supposedly given a chance to serve in politics, including the highest political office. When someone says "he/she has no chance", then that person actively abandons the fundamental political philosophy our country was built upon. We might as well admit we are in Plutocracy, a system based on no ideology other than wealth (not only by money but by resources as well). I would concede to the elites' vote, after all this investment scheme has not failed them on the empires they have amassed, and a 180-spin would be risking a multi-generational collapse. As for the impoverished masses? Who could blame them, when the only name they recognise is that of an actor, or of a dictator, or whoever has their name plastered in "projects" and "donations"? The people in the extremes are at the mercy of numbers. The middle class though, armed with enough education and practically risk-free, confuses me.

My dilemma now is, should we allow these polls and surveys during the campaign period? I say no, it warps the minds of the electorate, and reducing the election process as jumbo clearance sales. These polls are killing the chances of the Dick Gordons of every election, and drives the Defensor-Santiagos (v. 1992) to conspiracy-crazies. Pre-campaign surveys are the worst offenders for me. How can someone already "win" before the campaign even began?

But sad to say that will remain a dream, it won't even be taken as a serious consideration. I guess the takeaway from this is going back to simplicity: do not overthink. I recall my supervisor said, "a thesis with too many numbers means the person doesn't understand the subject matter". So when you decide to vote "intelligently", step further back and ask yourself, is it really intelligent, or just pretending to be? That's introspection.

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