Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Practical in Politics

Idealism, intelligence, integrity, fire in the belly, good looks will get you lot of political mileage if the political highway is smooth and cemented. If instead of a highway you have a muddy farm access road pockmarked with deep holes, you will require an entirely different type of vehicle that will be appropriate for such conditions.

Without money there is no media exposure. Without money, access to politicians who control votes is severely curtailed. Without money, there will be no poll watchers to guard your votes. These are the passive drawbacks that will seriously slow down a campaign without big money.

On the other hand, money will buy election officials, powerful political bosses, unscrupulous members of mass media, fear-inducing characters, "poll watchers" (a euphemism for vote-buying). These are just a few of the active advantages that big money can buy.

The eerie phenomenon is everyone seems to know about these realities. These have become accepted realities of life in the Philippines. Whose responsibility is it to institute reform? Can we expect the powerful and comfortable few to change their ways? Have we become so complacent and happy in our own small ways that we just as well accept the lot that has been given to us? This last question is not simply a rhetorical one. Am I being arrogant in thinking that I can change a world that does not mind its current state?

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