February 01, 2008

I wish I was an American right now

NO, I'm not being unpatriotic.

I just thoroughly enjoyed this morning's Democratc Party presidential debate between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton which was carried live on CNN and I couldn't help but wish we here in the Philippines would have the same kind of electoral process that would be able to weed out the weak candidates from the stronger ones.

It was very exciting to watch both the Democratic Party frontrunners discuss issues intelligently and present their ideas and would-be policies to the voters. (Both were very cordial to each other btw, as if they had already agreed earlier on that what was more important to convey was party unity.)

I think the most important issue raised during the debate was on the Iraq war...why the U.S. got into it in the first place, and how the next president will get the country out of that mess. It is a topic that is really close to the hearts of a lot of American voters because most have friends and family serving in the military assigned to Iraq.

Clinton: (responding to a question on her failure to vote for an amendment requiring Bush to report to Congress the result of U.N. inspections before going to war) "You know, I've said many times if I had known then what I know now, I never would have given President Bush the authority. It was a sincere vote based on my assessment at the time and what I believed he would do with the authority he was given."

Obama: "I think it is much easier for us to have the argument when we have a nominee who says, 'I always thought this was a bad idea — this was a bad strategy.' "
(The full transcript of the debate at CNN.com)

It didn't matter to me who nailed the debate because both argued strongly on issues they had already earlier been identified with, but what really appealed to me was the fact that the Democrats now have the best candidates to choose from.

You can almost feel the electricity in the air. Talagang excited sila sa States! Everyone is so galvanized to register, organize, speak up, and vote. Even if it's just the primaries. I suppose it's because they feel the Bush administration just so fucked up its seven years in office that the voters want a change and choose wisely this time.

So honestly, nakakainggit sila. Kasi, as far as the present crop of would-be presidential candidates here in the country goes, we don't have an Obama or a Clinton that can inspire us. You know, the kind that will be able to push us out of our comfort zones to help ourselves and our country to get its act together? Someone who can seriously kick butt and get the government to work for the people. For example, how many hours do you have to stand in line to get your driver's license, SSS ID, your baptismal or birth certificate, or your passport? (Answer: Longer than the hours you have to line up at the U.S. Embassy to get a visa.)

But I think part of the reason we don't have any more seriously competent politicians to serve the interests of the people is because of the following:

First of all, our electoral process is just chaotic. Like there are just too many political parties, and its members are just switching sides all the time naman. Magulo!

Then, we have a Commission on Elections that lacks the right equipment and credibility among its people to actually conduct honest and clean elections.

Third, all our politicians are trapos. Even the young ones have already adopted the style of their elders. You scratch my back, I scratch your back. There's always a quid pro quo involved in any resolution or bill passed by Congress or the Senate. They close their eyes to lobby money changing hands, even if they themselves don't get their share.

Kawawa na masyado ang Pilipinas. People just want to leave and move to another country. Hindi na bale mag-maid, mag-yaya, magpahid ng pwet ng matatanda sa ibang bansa, basta lang malaki ang sweldo nila at pamilya nila makakain ng tatlong beses isang araw.

They feel there's no hope. And we need a President who may not have all the solutions to our country's problems a hundred percent, but at least give us back the hope that things are going to change for the better.

In the States, they need change. Here in the Philippines, we need hope.

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