Friday, May 03, 2013

Last Minute Thoughts on the Senate Race

Here's something I never thought I'd be doing on a Friday night: I'm trawling Youtube for interviews of senatorial candidates for the upcoming elections. With the polls just a little over a week away, it's like cramming for an exam. It's not that late, though, and there is still a bit of time. At least by now most of the study material has been put together for me to sift through.

Why do I care all of a sudden? I'd always thought of myself as apolitical. I've taken pride in that self-assessment, too. I suppose like many I've held to the sentiment that, no matter what I do, nothing will really change. Lately, I've come to realize though, that attitude bespeaks a lack of hope. And without hope, all we can do is cruise along and so, yes, nothing will really change.

More than that, there are also developments that have made me change my mind.

In the main, the alignments of the candidates aren't quite as polarized as they were in the past few elections. That's because we don't have a figure as divisive as a Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. That means that real issues can bubble to the surface of the political discussion.

We're seeing new faces in this election. In fact, there are more first-time senatorial candidates than veterans. To be sure, some are riding on the coattails of the family name, but that doesn't seem to confer any true advantage.

And we're also seeing young faces, too. More than half of the candidates are below sixty, many of them really much younger than that. That they're new and young gives me the hope that they won't just be the traditional politicians that their forebears were.

Finally, we have non-aligned candidates who don't appear to have just been plucked from the lunatic fringe. They have respectable credentials and novel but not wholly implausible ideas for moving the country forward. It's doubtful that they'll win this time, but the fact that they're participating gives me hope that they'll gain some traction in the future.

A few months ago, I thought I'd only choose one or two names for my senate choices. I still don't think I'll fill in all slots, but now I'm actually looking at at least half. As I'm doing my research on the candidates and listening to their responses, both what they're saying and how they're saying it, I'm beginning to see things to admire.

Will my vote affect the outcome? Of course! And yours does, too. That's why you should go out and vote.

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