People may consider my precious vote "wasted on a presidential who cannot win". And looking at our country, I am tempted to think the same - a mentality akin to gambling, of siding with the better odds.
In war, it may be related to "allying for survival's sake". In reality, it is plain cowardice - surrendering our own ideals to someone's else simply because we don't stand a chance to make it a reality. It simply shows that we have no guts, to willpower of our own to fight our own battles.
I was in high school when I first encountered Dick Gordon. I never had the privilege to meet him in person; we were being toured around the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority back in 1997 - twenty Senior Scouts vying for the honor of being called "Outstanding". Instead, I was the one astounded.
Being born and raised in Naga City, I am proud of my heritage - being a citizen of the most progressive city in the Bicol region (no offense to the people of Legaspi City and Iriga City). We would boast about our beloved mayor, Jesse Robredo, and about the accomplishments he did. This changed when I saw the story of SBMA through a short documentary film they presented, and as we went around the entire area.
For the first time, I realized what a city should and can be.
No offense, Sir Robredo - Naga City is awesome, and is still number one in my heart. But I fell in love with the vision of SBMA, of people disciplined and caring for their own community not out of obligation or fear, but simple passion and equality among themselves.
This is what I saw with my then-16-year-old eyes. And since then, I was praying that "sana" someday, the man behind it all would get a chance to become a president. It was a fanciful thought, though - maybe even childish. But that's why it's called a dream.
Through the years, however, I was dismayed how people know so little about him. I was saddened when Erap forcibly removed him from his post for a reason I can never comprehend nor justify. But I was relieved that the administration had enough brains to appoint him in the tourism industry. The details of his accomplishments in that department is well documented and described in numerous blogs, news articles, and everything else written and captured on video.
It came to me as a joyful surprise when I heard he actually announced his candidacy. Having Fernando as his running mate is a bonus, of course - Bayani's humility and practicality in that decision is another tale to tell.
People say that I am wasting my vote on him. How can that be? I believed in Gordon's leadership and vision for more than a decade; NOT voting for him after all these years is the most stupid thing I can do now. I will vote for him not because I am impressed with his platform or his eloquence, but because in my now-28-year-old eyes, he has kept his integrity, passion, dedication and vision for the past years.
I am not forcing you to vote for him. But I do challenge you to go beyond the circus shows on TV, radio, newspapers and surveys - and let the truth guide you to a wiser decision. In fact, stop listening to the debates, stop going to rallies and all for a change: spend time researching on everyone's backgrounds before they announced their candidacy.
I want to see our nation change for good. I want to see a transformation not only in the government and society, but most importantly in everyone's hearts. I want to believe again in hope for our nation - not empty promises, but a tangible though distant future where I can look back to today with pride and honor that I made the right choice.
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This statement is my own personal stand on the current elections. It does not reflect my church's stand on the matter, nor do I force them to believe the same. Just wanna be clear on that one.