I dislike a lot of things in Ang Kapatiran’s platform and a lot of what they stand for. For one, I think their conservative insistence on imposing Natural Family Planning on everyone is abhorrent – a blanket imposition of questionable religious beliefs (many Christian theologians approve of artificial family planning) to a secular public. I’m also not very impressed with the way they talk about issues. They moralize instead of analyze and abstract instead of engage. To be fair, there are issues they talk about with precision and clarity (i.e. when Dr. Martin Bautista talks about our debt problem), but, by and large, they have the tendency to sound like the trapos they love to criticize. In a debate which my organization, the Ateneo Debate Society, hosted, I saw the Kapatiran members get outshined by the intelligence and precision of Rep. Alan Cayetano (someone people should definitely vote for).
Despite all my misgivings, however, I don’t think it would be wrong to vote for Kapatiran. In fact, they might actually be good for the Senate. They seem honest, well-intentioned, and selfless. They’ve achieved a bare minimum that people like Mike Defensor, Butch Pichay, Richard Gomez, Tito Sotto, or Chavit Singson haven’t.
We have the power to change things, so it is incumbent upon us to respond. The system is not bad because there are stupid poor voters who don’t know what’s best for the country. This bigotry must be ended in favor a view that recognizes our (the middle and upper classes) complicity in the creation and maintenance of this system. Upon recognizing this complicity, we should also recognize that it is within our capacity to reverse what we have done. Trapos are trapos because our own families, schools, fraternities, etc. have bred them. If we seek culture changes in these institutions and if we ourselves imbibe these changes, the system will give. Trapos are also trapos because we have let them get away with pillaging the country, and, at times, even benefited from their pilferage. If we are vigilant against them and if we communicate this vigilance, they will eventually give. Trapos are trapos because some of us opt to join their ranks. If we are vigilant about ourselves, we will also give.
2) Inform yourselves about candidates and tell people about those who you think should make it and should not make it to office. As I mentioned, I’m a Cayetano fan (please write his complete name, Alan Cayetano, on the ballot).
3) Find ways to guard yours and other people’s votes. Join VforCE (http://vforce.multiply.com).
4) Know about political issues even when it’s not election time. Just because it’s not voting time, doesn’t mean you can’t lobby.
5) Demand that television networks educate people about political issues through writing them. Watch and support the smart ones; boycott and complain about the dumb ones.
6) Love your country. Okay, that’s not concrete, but it’s what’s most important.