Hoping for a low turnout

by Teddy Locsin, Jr.

Posted at May 20 2013 08:59 PM | Updated as of May 21 2013 04:59 AM

THE only worthwhile thing reported by midday of Election Day, and by a Comelec commissioner no less, was the high probability of a low turnout at the polls. Now this could change if, for some reason even unrelated to actual turnout, a respectable turnout is later reported the actual turnout notwithstanding. But if the turnout was low it speaks to the sophistication of the electorate. 

Only the unschooled, those who didn’t go to Harvard, say it is a duty to vote. How silly. Our only duty is to choose, even if the choice is not to vote if none of the choices are worth taking—as it often was in the various elections staged during martial law when the dictatorship made it criminal not to vote because it was imperative to show the foreign press that many Filipinos were voting albeit in rigged elections. Indeed, it is silly, and as we said, rather unschooled or at least unschooled in reputable institutions like Harvard, to call a vote a success just because many people turn out to commit mistakes at the polls.
   
Nor should we fill up every elective post if few or no candidates deserve them. Best to leave them blank. Our duty is to select a few or none at all. Indeed, the fewer you vote for, the more votes you effectively give them. And one good man in the senate is better than a mob of mediocrities on offer. Beth Angsioco launched a campaign that deserved more attention cleverly called by her: NO MORE TO PWDE LANG CANDIDATES. She voted for one senator.
   
Not voting sends a strong signal that the electorate are fed up with the mediocrity of candidates offered by the political parties, that they are nauseated by the inanity of the candidates’ message, and by the infantilism of their manner of communicating the messages by the slow saying of syllables like a grown-up talking to a baby. Thus, we heard on television: “Ang kailangan ay pagkain. Ang kailangan ay pera. Ang pera ay pambili ng pagkain” with the subtext “walang pera ako, so iboto niyo ako.” In short, his election will fatten someone and it may as well be the candidate.
   
This puerile message, the pundits say, supposedly appeals to the lower classes. I do not think so. The D and E classes have a gut appreciation of hunger. They know from past doleouts that they come only before elections. And that the issue is not food or the money to buy it but creation of sustainable jobs through the adopting of economic policies based on a clear and correct understanding of the nature of economic growth, of its elements, and of their effective combination yet also measure implementation so that the cure is not worse than the disease and the operation was successful but the patient died, as happened in Poland when the WB-IMF’s shock treatments that threw the fledging democracy and perennial victim of invasions into a tailspin of misery that made Polish women synonymous to the cheapest whores available on the loneliest highways in Italy for the lowliest truck drivers to use. Trust the IMF to come up with solutions that make it easier for its officials to pick up prostitutes without getting charged in a New York court.
   
When a charming fool is elected by the poor, as Erap was, it is because his charm bespeaks an attitude of caring, as much for the comfort of the patient as for the effectiveness of a painful cure. The poor are not stupid. A smart man without a heart will kill them with sacrifice; a stupid man will kill them with a prodigal kindness that is unsustainable and that will destroy the economy like Brazil’s and Spain's mandatory internal revenue allotments for local government units bankrupted fiscally conservative national governments. While a man without morals will help himself when he is in power like a pig with his snout in a trough.
   
I hope that when the turnout is definitely reckoned it is low, so the votes of sure winners are also; and that seems to be the case. In that way the top ranking winners may win by a large margin but only of a very small vote so they give up any higher ambition; while the bottom are encouraged to try harder next time.
   
The message needs sending to the politicians that inanity is insulting cuteness won’t cut it anymore. If some are still fooled to vote for the lousy; more abstained out of the awareness of the urgency for serious leadership of a country flushed with a fever the government mistake for health and the media misreckon as progress.

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