When I turned 18, one of the things I was most looking forward to was applying to be a registered voter. I guess I thought that, in a democratic country like ours, to register for voting in the elections is one of the hallmarks of being a true adult. Of course, it was just an added bonus for me that we’re electing our next president this coming May. A little over a month before the elections, however, I find myself wondering if I should exercise my right to vote at all.
Between everyone asking me for my preference for the upcoming elections and me trying to scramble for an answer, I realized how much easier it was for me to defend why not to vote for a certain candidate instead of why to vote for them. It’s not all bad, however. I understand that for some the process of elimination can help at arriving at an answer. The problem is when, after looking at the candidates one by one and eliminating one after the other, I’m left with no option.
“Pick your poison,” is what some would advise. Pick your poison: the failures of the current administration, allegations of corruption, human rights violations, a medical condition, and questionable eligibility to run for office. It has indeed become a question of “Which problem are you most willing to overlook?” to arrive at a candidate to vote for. Pick your poison: inexperience or experience swarmed with accusations of incompetence. A grand promise of a drug-free Philippines in exchange for lives of fellow human beings or a reused platform courtesy of the current administration. “Pick your poison,” but why should we compromise? Why do we have to gamble when the next six years is at stake? That we don’t we have a candidate that we’ll readily vote for, no questions asked, should raise alarms, perhaps not for the general electorate but at least in ourselves.
It’s all good, clean fun when people joked around asking for better presidential candidates for Christmas, but we find ourselves in the same position, three months later, sans the jokes and with even more urgency to settle on a candidate to vote for.
The elections are set to happen in May, and we’re running out of time to decide, but every chance we’re given to make up our mind on a presidential hopeful just leaves me with more disappointment rather than renewed confidence in our candidate lineup, especially for the highest post of the land. If anything, the past two presidential debates held over the last two months have left more bad impressions than good ones, at least for me. When did our presidentiables turn into Donald Trump? Instead of allotting time for discussion of social issues, the time was wasted throwing insults at one another every chance they could get with no holds barred. Sharp words were exchanged; name-calling replaced actual debating. More interaction we asked for, and more interaction we got indeed.
I know it’s hard (and rather futile) to wait and wish for the ideal candidate to come along, but when they tell us to vote wisely who do they expect us to vote for? For a would-be first time voter, the lure of being able to vote does not seem as appealing as it did, but I’d like to think that there’s still hope left for this country.