Politics is a common topic in our household and not in a “we want to overturn it” kind of way but in an “it’s interesting to talk about” kind of way. This, coupled with an older brother who graduated with a Political Science from Loyal Marymount University fueled my younger brother and I’s interest in what was going on in the world.
I brought my interest in politics with me to college and just like any idealistic coming of age student, I often aired my “the government could do better” to anyone who dared to listen (my blog was often the recipient of my college rants and have now turned into cringe worthy reminders of my once “know it all” attitude) without realizing the enormity of what I was talking about. There was more to it than simply following where the crowd was going when it came to their opinion of the government.
I started changing my mind about the government right about the same time our current president was elected. I was far from being a Pnoy supporter in my younger years but I was looking forward to seeing his “tuwid na daan” coming to life, if it ever did. Was he just the son of or was he going to be something more?
Just like State of the Nation addresses before the last, this year’s SONA started off as a fashion show that I could care less about (it reminded me of prom: so much prepping for an hour of sitting down) that I was quick to disregard as it as another “papogi” effort of the president, but listening to him this time made me see him for who he was: a human being. Past speeches of the president have always made me feel like he was always on the defense: combative, devoid of emotion, and ready to give a sermon at the drop of the hat. I never saw him as a human being bothered by critics and so on; to me he was the president, nothing more, nothing less.
And while I am not in the position to discuss what he should or shouldn’t have talked about, I came to see him as a man with literally 100 million lives on his shoulders – all of which asking for different things and have different priorities. But while I do have personal issues I wish he prioritized such as solid and better education system for everyone (alongside higher wages for hardworking public teachers), a better transportation system, putting highly abusive sen-actors in jail, and the dream fulfilled of a no corruption society, I understand that he’s doing the best he can with what he has.
With all the gripes on social media (understandable and everyone’s right), it’s easier to throw stones at the government demanding for change without realizing that that power lies within us, it always has.
It’s our responsibility to get up and vote for who we think are the right candidates. It’s also our responsibility to help instead of constantly challenging the government by typing on our keyboard screens in our air conditioned rooms, and it is also in our responsibility to act instead of just saying we will or expecting someone else to do it.
From the way I see it, we are in a better condition than we used to be and yes, there’s a long way to go, but seeing progress right before our eyes (seeing sen-actors paying their dues did it for me) and celebrating it for a moment helps in moving forward together. It’s such a cliché and maybe a bit dewy-eyed idealistic, but greater things happen if we choose to move forward together, instead of constantly pointing fingers. Mahatma Gandhi knew what he was talking about when he said the change we want starts with us, it always has.