Ma'am Liling is right. Every other Tom, Dick and Harry (or Tomasa, Dikya, and Henrietta) has activated his or her youth arm, composed mostly of Sangguniang Kabataan runners. The want to woo the youth vote, but know not what this voting bloc wants, or wishes to have.
Barack Obama won because he started a grassroots movement. He thought hard what he wanted to do, and wrote them down in two well-received books. His is a bright mind distilled into wisdom; hope flamed into action.
There is no Filipino Barack Obama in sight. None yet. They have to go out of their houses, their cars, their shells, and roam the countryside, talk to the people, there in the grassroots -- where votes cannot be bought, and hopes have been shattered, and the longing for change is keenest.
Good luck to us all.
The Business of Governance
The entire world is enthralled with Obama’s victory, including the Philippines. It is reported that in France, the search is on for a French Obama. The other day the hosts of a popular radio program asked listeners to mention who deserves to be the “Filipino Obama.” Someone immediately texted the name of a popular young senator. Just as quickly, another texter disputed the choice and suggested the name of another senator.
The thinking is that anyone who is relatively young, tall, good-looking and smooth-talking can be a Filipino Obama. An important question to ask is: who is funding wanna-be-Obamas? Obama’s funding largely came from the public. Are our Obama pretenders using public funds for their campaigns? Are they depending on big business and trapo money?
Another important question is: what is their track record? For presidentiables who are senators and congressmen, what is the output of the committees they chair? A simpler question: are they working in the Senate or out touring campuses on public funds to seduce the youth vote?
A large percentage of those who voted for Obama are young. In the Philippines, the race is on for the youth vote. Every other candidate has its youth arm. This is not really a new thing. The youth has always been recognized as a potent force for change. At the same time, cynics note that corruption starts at a very young age, say, in the Sangguniang Kabataan.
In a forum with young political leaders, a young man asked the anguished question, ”Too often, the youth have been disappointed by those who promise to lead them. They end up worse than their trapo parents, handlers and funders.” The youth then recited a long list of politicians who wooed the youth vote and turned trapo. “What is your guarantee that you will not disappoint us when it is your turn?”
An enthusiastic journalist wrote that the Obama victory was “the first global election.” He has been described as a “historic and transformational” figure. It is too soon to swoon over a self-proclaimed Filipino Obama. We need a Filipino for the Filipinos, not a grotesque Obama imitation.
The second book which Obama wrote is entitled, “The Audacity of Hope.” Let us not be seduced by those who offer “The Audacity of Hubris.”