Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

11/30/2003

Voting: A Symbol of Hope

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

“HOPE is a virtue in a hopeless society,” said Cardinal Sin. The Philippines for most is precisely the epitome of hopelessness. Corruption has become a social institution affecting everyone from the lowliest beggar to the highest public official in the land. Newspapers and television screens have been filled with scandals that have rocked our nation’s foundation. More and more people are falling or on the brink of poverty. Inflation rates have risen causing prices to rise and devaluating our peso making it that much harder for our people to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the rich enjoy the benefits and comforts of their wealth preferring to let their money do the talking while others sweat under the heat of the Philippine sun. In a classic cliché, the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. Most of all, it has put the spirit of apathy within each of our hearts.

Apathy makes its way inside us in the most insidious of ways. It is the businessman who after reading the papers says, “That has nothing to do with me, why should I bother to change my practices?” Yet, it has everything to do with him whose very livelihood depends on the welfare of his own market. Apathy lives in the hopeful applicant of the driver’s license who prefers to pay up rather than pass his tests on merit. Circumventing the system has become a way of life that any alternative seems full of risk. Finally, it lies in the heart of the voter who says, “Why should I vote? No matter what, nothing will change.” He wallows in self-defeat doing nothing and yet expecting everything. Nothing will change unless we make it.

Heroes do not just die for their country; they live for it. And now, more than ever, our country is in need of them. They are not to be found making flowery speeches in front of rostrums. Neither can they be seen riding on the heels of celebrity vying for the nation’s attention. They are found in front of the mirror, inside the heart of the face staring back. We are challenged to change the world not through extraordinary acts of epic proportions but through the ordinary acts of extraordinary courage- voting.

A vote could be seen as a simple paper ballot cast in favor of a certain politician. But, more than that, a vote is a symbol of hope. It signifies that we have not yet given up. The philosopher Marcel once intimated that to hope is to make room for our dreams in the world of reality. To vote is to make room for our dreams in our reality. It is easy to stand aside as politicians and greedy businessmen continue to make a playground out of our country. It is infinitely more difficult to run against the tide of society and to stand for what we believe in. We are challenged to lift ourselves out of complacency, to move beyond our self-inflicted boundaries. And so, we vote, not only for our dreams but also for the others that will come after us. A nation is not built in a day or in waves of protest and revolution, it built by hands and minds sustained by the hope that one day, their dreams will finally live in reality.



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