WHY VOTE?

3 09 2009

by: Lycar Flores (Written in 2007)

It is a fact that voting is a right.  As a citizen of the Philippines, each of us is given the right to vote.  But the question that we all must answer is:  What is really the importance of voting?

Since voting is a right, attached to it is a responsibility.  It is our responsibility to use our right to create an avenue to make reforms and changes in our government and in our society.  Through voting, we show our interest and participation on the various actions that we can all do to help our country and people.  It is said that people, most especially the youth, are attacked by a virus—the virus of hopelessness.  Most individuals already lost hope that our country still has the chance of restoring and rebuilding its greatness and richness.  And we can only attacked this spreading and epidemic virus by creating an antidote through the formation of another virus—the virus of hope.  We should not only hope.  We must exert efforts in making the things we hope for possible.  A way of making our dreams and hopes come to reality is by choosing the right leaders for our country.  One may ask: right leaders?  Do they exist?  This is a difficult question… But how will we progress if we already distrust the people who volunteered themselves for service?  We should always bear in mind that nobody is perfect.  People, particularly our leaders, are also tempted, and in totality they are also sinners like us.

Trust is very important in running a government and a country.  Trust is not gained by a snap of a finger.  It is something that is build as we work together.  But how would we build something that is not there?  What I’m trying to drive is this:  we have to trust our leaders and at the same time be watch dogs of their actions towards change and the like.  We were the ones who chose them, so we also have the right to change them.  But how can we actually do this if we don’t participate in the selection process of these leaders?

The Philippines has been known for its very famous EDSA revolutions… But do we really know the true essence of this popular event?  I bet many of those people who participated in the said event are those people who didn’t even exercise their right to vote.  I believed that this is one of the things that we have to reflect on as people and as citizens of the Philippines.  We usually call for rallies and the like whenever we feel dissatisfied with what our leaders and the government are doing without even realizing if we really took part on the entire process of choosing the leaders of our country.  We keep on complaining without even realizing if we have the right to complain…  I believed that those who have the right to complain are those people who participated or have shown their interest in our quest for nation building.  One manifestation of this is by exercising your right to vote.

The things I pointed out may be ironic, but that’s how I see things with regards to the right to suffrage issue.  So, I encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote.  Voting is the true strength of people power.  At the end of the day, it’s not just about being right or wrong in choosing the leaders for our country; it’s about knowing deep within you if the flame and passion of hope that our country would rise up again is still burning in your hearts.

***Lycar is the former chairperson of Siliman University’s University Student Council, the current Vice-Chairperson for Visayas of Student Council Alliance of the Philippines and she was recently hailed as one of the Ten Oustanding Students of the Philippines.

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