By: John Moses Chua
Party, Run, Vote!
Consequent to Jesus’ resurrection is the rise of new messiah—a local messiah the university and the studentry is waiting for; the administration is not very excited.
The shift of mood the UPLB and our generation will undertake is something new. In this year’s election, there is no fair; No February Fair where they get to the stage and display themselves. This is also the year where [we] the UPLB Perspective held an Opening Salvo where only campaign managers will be the one to sit and discuss polemically. Well, this should be the original case, but we know what really happened, don’t we? Apparently, the publication is adamant to show the students what really lies inside university politics.
Why do you ‘party’?
What could be tiring? Electoral parties feeding us with acronyms and meticulous words that will pressure you to believe in them. Or, probably making you believe that they are into service and stuff. I know one service; back in high school—van. That is high school politics. One of the reason why I was happy to graduate back then was the fact that I am leaving that culture. Most of the time, they were only there to be put there. Display. Or, taga-lista ng noisy. Of course, those student leaders may have total concern to their constituents; but, who in the end will decide what they do? Advisers. Or guidance. Or principal. Or student director.
The distinguishing point: puppetry. Parties in UPLB deviate from that crummy term. Not strictly sure, though. They embrace social principles; just-quite differing principles that they only differ in insert usual answer in an election debate. They differ in the way they face up the students’ problems. They differ in how they answer national and university issues. Although, they differ less when you talk to them—wtf. They are all pushing for something for the, something for the, i don’t know, too! Maybe for the students, maybe for the community, maybe for them; For their narcissistic selves. Some are so right they were dragged with Noynoy to his matuwid na daan. Some are so left they were left in the roads persuading people that Noynoy’s matuwid na daan is far from being matuwid. Some are acting priest, sitting in the council and sending prayers and regards: sweet!
Some are just vain.
So, whenever I see someone with a nameplate inches below their breasts saying: “Vote for me, Fuckers!”, a question always pops into my head: Why is s/he running? S/he could’ve walked.
Why do you ‘run’?
If running in electoral terms means to be a candidate or be a nominee to handle a political responsibility; walking, then, for me, is to not be a candidate or a nominee, but will still bear the responsibility; as a candidate or a nominee handles them. So, why not walk?
The deeper question opens a query whether I scorn or respect the candidate: Why do you really run? The question becomes difficult to answer because, apparently, the nature of democratic election is corrupted in the first place. How? Election is a popularity contest politically encrusted with principles and service to what or to whom. And, at its core: it is a huge flask to experiment what people think of or what can change their thoughts. To what manner they are going to serve their constituent is stained by the fact that the student voted for them—that they are famous. Their service, even if it is wholly a service they wholly, intently, genuinely delivered automatically bears rewards; a service that is delegitimized as it is only done for the prize that comes with it.
These are typical answers to my question, why someone runs:
- “I see problems and we, the students, should act to resolve these problems.”
- “I have all the prerequisites for one to be a leader, to be your leader, to be your Chairperson!”
- “E, kay’sa naman yung kabila pa ang manalo? ‘Diba, ‘diba?”
- “Napilit lang ako. Like, honestly.”
To answer why someone should run, we must then remember the fundamental reasons why the university has this thing called student council. Way, way back, when we are not even born; student representation was pushed for one thing: to campaign the fundamental rights students must have. They barred sudden increases in tuition or other fees, they also barred several unjust censoring projects the university may implement. They banner the students’ demands—the students’ rights.
This council is being changed over the years, because, of course. And, these changes lead to its strengthening or weakening. Apparently, some years ago, tuition just increased in a staggering three hundred percent. leading to a changing UP culture and UP environment as it leave its status as a premier state university. Apparently, it has become no different from unsubsidized private universities. Thus the messiah!
Why do you ‘vote’?
Every year, UP suffers from the budget cuts imposed by the state. This is in line with Pork Barrels and DAP. See where I’m getting at? Some students still see the problem. Some, sadly, start to forget it since, of course, they can pay. Students who can feel that there is a problem stop to be a student—because they can’t. The end result is an environment not any different from an environment private and fascist universities have where all students are financially capable to pay and there is no problem, except that some people are just disgusting and not cute. Do we want that for UP? I do not know for most, but personally, I still hope that UP can cater the poorest of us and help those with ability to be a professional, even with economic hurdles. And we can step up this discussion to the level university administrators are in: thus the council. At least, that is why I vote.
But, why do you vote?
Like the usual, utopian, democracy: We all love to break free from the popularity and face-value nature of election. Every year we are looking for a new Jesus. Parties have become tactical to promote their own Jesus, constructing a discipleship with popular membership; Constructing the kind of Jesus that should work for them. (1) The Jesus that crucifies himself and do all the sufferings so his constituents can have a very wonderful FebFair. He’s crucified, though, so he can only work inside his office. (2) The Jesus that sweeps the market vendors—vendors that are capitalizing on his church, and exploiting the church goers of their faith to God. (3) The Jesus that goes from place to place to be awesome and famous.
The initial set-up this process of looking-for-messiah has a distinct character: it all roots from the people having a problem. Remember the rise of Superman in one of US’s economic depression? Or, the airplane-god which is apparently simply an airplane a certain tribe in the North abruptly worshiped during the World War 2? Or maybe, Jesus during his time, where food is not necessarily abundant and sicknesses are not entirely curable? In this phenomena, where we look for a God, a messiah, a president, or simply a leader, it seems that those in the group are being united for choosing that God, messiah, or leader for having recognized the same problem. We are united by the problem and then we choose our leader, we choose our God.
It is different for most voters: They vote the person, then they will realize their problem through that person. Democracy, yeah!
Protip: Know the problem, then vote.
Vote even if the others will not, even if the others cannot.
The campaign period has begun and be ready for your organizations’ publicity materials to go unnoticed. Be ready to judge how they design their campaign layouts. Be ready to look at your crush or crushes while you wait for your next class. And, be ready for all the fucks you can give, because, hey it’s politics.
And for your entertainment education, attend election-related activities! And:
Good luck! Have Fun!
And, vote wisely! [Somehow the sentence is popular.]