Noisy, crowded, brightly colored, and tense. That’s how I can describe a kick-off campaign rally. Yesterday, marked the beginning of the campaign season for this year’s elections. As mono-
colored groups poured into the rally site, so did the huge tarps and placards bearing the names of the senatoriables. It was a tense moment…maybe because of the atmosphere of the crowd hype then.
I was assigned to Team PNoy, the admin block. I felt like being drowned in a sea of yellow while the giant tarps tried to block our view.
All twelve candidates were given eight minutes to speak to the crowd. Some laid a glimpse of their platforms, some their dramatic life story, and some, as expected, gave their enemies some good bashing. One called the past administration as thieves, the other ranted on him being cheated in the past elections, and another emphasized on not to believe the “others” who were “pretending to ride with their platform”.
But during the days before the start of the kick-off campaigns, the word war between parties was already at bay. From “new opposition” claims to “racist” remarks, the media noted them all. Not one from both sides missed to answer the rant of the other.
It was sickening. The battle of politics has turned into a sour word war. And for me it’s a dirty game.
When I talked to a spokesperson of an election-regulating body in the Philippines, he mentioned that they cannot stop these parties or candidates from making personality-bashing at their campaign. Nothing in our law prohibits such campaigning. Besides, our constitution itself upholds the freedom of expression as we belong in a democratic country. He warned candidates to be mindful of such a campaign strategy. Not everyone buys it.
True enough, in all the five or more people we interviewed from the public, nobody likes the idea of personality bashing. All talk but no work, one of them says.
The dangers of negative communication. I wonder how far will such a war of words go.
It’s easy to criticize. It’s easy to show the ugly side of your enemy. It’s an effective way to make the crowd see you’re in the right standing while the other is not. But such a strategy is the downfall of both sides. Not only will his rival get a bruise from his words; the one who threw will get a bad score from the public.
Such a strategy is as immature as kids who fight back when being teased for having a bad hairdoo.
How desperate can one become just to get into power? This is how far we have gone in our brand of politicking. Aside from empty promises and dramatic stints, we’ve resolved to picking a fight through words and ego-lambasting. But by doing so, it does not uplift who a candidate really is. Besides, one should be campaigning for himself, not embarrassing another.
I just hope that the public would realize that words alone are not the basis for choosing the best candidate (or the “lesser evil” as someone called it). Words do not make up who are worth to lead this society. Besides, while it’s still election season, all voters must choose who are fit to execute the roles a government position demands. Does the personality of that candidate fit the role to be a senator, a congressman or a local government leader? Do they have the skill, wits and political will of a lawmaker and leader? Do they have the heart to lead the public through their unique roles in the government?
Those word wars can’t reveal the answers for those questions. I hope every candidate will just be honest in their works. No more personality-bashing, please. It’s time to prove integrity by works and character alone.