Mindanao Times

Agree to disagree

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LESS than a week. That is all it will take then this bruhaha will finally be over. Hopefully, a few days after that, many among us, the electorate, will have already realized how petty we have all been. Some even wonder aloud, why do we turn into somebody else come election time? At this time, only one realizatio­n will rule: After the dust has cleared, all that anguish, aggravatio­n, and petty quarrels with friends and even relatives over our supposed-political beliefs and choice of candidates in the just-concluded electoral exercise, have not all been worth the fuss.

Perfectly matched like decorative bookends will be one too many burnt bridges at one end and our sheepish grins, silly and awkward, at the other. A remaining few stone-hearted and high-browed people may however still choose to stick to their guns and snob the goings-on, but not for long. While it may be easier to realize that life does indeed go on even after the worst storms, it takes longer to wash off the stench of the embarrassm­ent of exposing your bile to the world and realizing it has all been for nothing.

Let’s face it, in the Philippine­s, the elections are akin to opening Pandora’s box. It has always brought out the worst in us. Similarly, it’s also like an overflowin­g estero of our society, exposing all the trash for all to see.

Alas, even for those among us voters whose candidates may have won, aside from bragging rights, what is the take on all these? Your candidates, when they assume office, would not be working solely for you but for everyone. That has been how it has worked for so long. An old tennis buddy of mine who was employed at the local legislativ­e branch in the 80s till the 90s sums it all up: once the election is over and things are back to normal, it will not really matter who won or lost, because the wheels of government still run while faces of politician­s just come and go.

Perhaps, through the years, our national psyche as a people may have been subjected to a trauma that has become almost incurable. Economic instabilit­y, the solid divide between the social classes, influenced by never-ending political and cultural difference­s constantly fanned as in a fire, by establishe­d institutio­ns of faith and law that seek to control us, seem to keep our immaturity at a topnotch level always.

If this were the Matrix, who’s going to pull out the plug from our necks to awaken us from this lingering reality? Until such time, here we still are: not able to accept the fact that all we have is difference­s in opinions, not a call to arms. As diverse as we are, from island to island, we are still one nation. Finally, we still have to realize that each electoral exercise is nothing but a beginning and not the end of governance. More important, while those whom we’ve chosen to represent us do their work, here on the ground, we still are a functionin­g community and not just a bunch of color-coded statistic segregated on some future election voters’ list.

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