Editor’s note: This is Dr. Adrian Rabe’s opinion on upcoming election and it does not reflect Kami.com.ph‘s views.
Red. Yellow. Blue. White. Darker red. We live in colorful times. Our allegiance is expressed in twibbons and infographics. Our discussions are dictated by memes, videos and sound bites. Amidst all the arguments, rebuttals, counterarguments and counter-rebuttals, we strive to contribute our own little piece in the storm of opinions and controversies that have marked the season.
What we overlook in our discourse is that most have come to speak rather than to listen. And how we shout each other down!
For many, it is a question of loyalty. Once you have picked a candidate, not even a mountain of evidence would move you. Candidates gain the blind veneration of the Black Nazarene, sometimes literally throwing to the throngs towels drenched in their sweat.
The diagnosis is Election Fever.
It is heralded by strong bursts of emotions, essay writing contests on Facebook, name calling, positive and negative ads, and accusations of bias. It may lead to revolutionary governments and dictatorships, coupled with historical revisionism and bouts of forgetfulness. Friends are ripped apart, families torn asunder.
Election fever is also marked by a dip in reading comprehension skills. The same words and sentences are given diametrically opposite interpretations depending on the color your heart bleeds. There are delusions of grandeur, and belief in promises that rival Romeo’s to Juliet. It really doesn’t help that the climate is literally heating up, with the irony that the environment is one of the least talked about topics of this election.
The good news is that election fever is self-limiting. It resolves after a couple of months, to be replaced by feelings of regret and then eventually, apathy.
The bad news is that election fever is recurrent. The cycles repeat over and over. Calls for change happen repeatedly, with no thought of the value of continuity… when in fact many of the promises made are actually the same programs and projects restyled and repackaged.
In the midst of it all, there are doubts that begin to well up in our mind. While we bash other candidates and build up our own, some of us with election fever may give pause. We realize that we’re fighting for the same country. The root cause of election fever is passion for the cause of national progress. We all want the same thing: a better country.
It is upon realizing this that we start telling ourselves that we hope we were wrong. We hope we were wrong about the incompetence. We hope we were wrong about the indecency. We hope we were wrong about the disloyalty. We hope we were wrong about the immorality. We hope we were wrong about them all.
Because when the wrong candidate wins, everyone loses.