While on the line earlier, waiting for my chance to vote, I overheard a conversation between two guys behind me.
Guy in a RED shirt: Pare, kuanon mo na sana tapos dai iboto. Pwede man baga. Alangan man maglaog sinda diyan tapos basahun ang balota mo.
Guy in a WHITE (almost cream) shirt: Iyo ano? Saen ngani sinda nagaabang?
Guy in a RED shirt: Diyan baga sa may luwas. Itong nagtatao ning sample ballot.
Guy in a RED shirt: Just get it then don’t vote for the candidate. It’s doable. They won’t go in and check who you shaded on your ballot anyway.
Guy in a WHITE (almost cream) shirt: That’s true. Where are they again?
Guy in a RED shirt: Outside, they’re the ones giving away the sample ballots.
It’s frustrating because quite frankly this seldom happens in my city, most of the voters are learned and have high respect for the system. Compared to the rest of the country, we were as safe as a walk in the park. I was so close to coming up to them and telling them off; I was that pissed (partly due the heat too) but I decided against it. Today I’ll let them make that decision for themselves. I cannot keep coaxing people to do the right thing when they themselves are not convinced they should do it.
But just to get this off my chest, here’s what I would have said:
Yes, people will not know who you voted for. Those who paid you off will keep their fingers crossed that you stay true to your words and they get the votes they need. Those who process your vote will be oblivious to the fact that you sold out.
They won’t know but YOU WILL.
You will know at that very moment that you lied, you sold out and you gave in to a broken undignified system. While a hard earning construction worker refuses for his vote to be bought despite his obvious need for money, here you are squandering your chances to make a difference. Granted, you may think, “What is one vote?” How is it going to affect your country? I can construe a dozen arguments why it does but that won’t matter as much as HOW YOUR VOTE CAN AFFECT YOU.
You have a chance to prove to yourself that you are worth more than a few hundred pesos. We don’t get chances like that very often.
If knowing that you just sold your vote isn’t torture enough, then you have a bigger problem. You are numb to people trampling on your dignity, callous to overglorified politicians walking all over you and treating you just like any other purchase he’s made- disposable and insignificant.
You’re better than that. WE are better than that. Once every 3 years we get to prove it.