>“Politics is Dirty.” It’s a cliché. When people are asked what they think of politics, this is usually their answer. I couldn’t really blame them for thinking that way. Their mindset are influenced by what they see in the news, what they read on papers and perhaps what they witness personally.
The Philippines is probably one of the countries with the dirtiest politics. There’s the Padrino system, even defined as a Filipino culture of politics by Wikipedia (click to see the evidence), where one gains favor, promotion or political appointment because of family affiliation, a.k.a. nepotism or friendship, a.k.a Cryonism, as opposed to one’s merit. The Philippines may be a democratic country but it’s like we’re being led by monarchs because of the Political Dynasties.
The Filipinos also have a bad case of crab mentality. Crab mentality is a metaphor to a pot of crabs. These crabs could’ve escaped out of the pot easily, but instead of trying to help with each other get out, they grab each other down instead. In the Philippines, the ones on top of the position are always sabotaged. Jealous of their success, their competitors attempt to pull them down by tarnishing their names and diminishing their importance and integrity. It’s probably the reason the Philippines wouldn’t prosper. We don’t push each other on top, we pull each other down, so that no one’s on top. “If I can’t have it, then no one can.” is the usual approach.
Recall the recent 2010 election and see for yourself how debauch our politics is. Candidate Noynoy Aquino who had always been on top of the surveys and polls and just a few days or weeks before the election, rumors have spread that he was not mentally stable. Villar, Noynoy’s closest rival suffered the same sentiment with his mother even crying and appealing to the media to stop denigrating his son.
Another issue in the Philippines is vote buying. I think almost all politicians buy votes. Probably, even the most committed and trustworthy politician. Why am I making such an assumption? Let’s say for example, Mr. Integrity runs for the office of mayor. Though he greatly disprove of vote buying and he’s willing to win this election as clean and fair as possible, it can’t be helped when his competition starts buying votes. He starts doubting and losing faith in himself. “If I don’t buy votes like my rival does, would I win this election?,” he wonders. Thus, in the end, he’s forced to let money play its role on the election to be in par with his rival. This may be just an example, but it’s really happening. Perhaps that’s why the common people couldn’t run for office. They have no chance of winning. They have no money to buy votes. Wealth and fortune parallel good leadership instead of character and competence. Politics has become a business. You invest so much campaigning because you’re gaining everything back anyway once you have already that power and position. Is that why as early as fifteen or sixteen, the candidates of the Sangguniang Kabataan are taught how to become good businessmen? Yes, they are taught how to invest and reap what they sow. Even those running for SK, who are not even financially self sufficient engage in the act of vote-buying.
With all these controversies, issues and all the negativity radiating from everywhere: the TV, radio and newspaper, it’s hard not to think that Politics is dirty, because we are immersed in a culture that makes it seem so. If you ask me the question, ‘Is Politics dirty?’ I’d answer you a big fat NO. Politics is actually an art, a science and a system of governing; therefore, it is good. What makes politics dirty is the people behind them. And I’m not just talking of the leaders or those government officials. I’m talking of you and me. Maybe, the reason why the notion still remains uncorrected is that we believe it is so. The reason it’ll remain dirty is our tolerance and our negligence. If we take a stand against this mindset, if we change our belief that politics dirty, we could make a difference. So, let’s not blame our leaders for committing the act of corruption, let’s take the initiative also to change what there is to change and let’s be wise enough to know the difference.
“God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.”