Why we elect politicians

(Photo Credit: presidentialpolls.com)
(Photo Credit:  presidentialpolls.com)
(Photo Credit: presidentialpolls.com)

I don’t want to be a politician. I don’t have the wherewithal to stage a campaign. The salary is not commensurate to the millions I would spend in imposing my name on the election top-of-mind recall. I thought that, in the Philippines, the president is the highest-paid worker. Until I learned that the P50-to-P80-thousand salary of “the most important man in the country” can be earned by flushing toilets in Italy.

I don’t want to be a politician. I’m afraid I might get killed while vying for office. I don’t want to be like the mayor I know who lives his life surrounded by bodyguards and have sex in a flak jacket.

I don’t want to be a politician. I will never have a Harvard education in my lifetime. I want the statesman-like gravitas and am not responsible enough or decisive enough or credible enough.

And, most of all, I don’t want to be a politician because I don’t want to be blamed.

In a country where graft and corruption forever demonize politics, there can never be, say, a perfect president.


Because we are a whiny people. We are skeptical. The news may say that the Philippine economy is booming, at 6.6 growth rate, the Asia’s Rising Tiger. But we won’t believe it unless the president gives us an iPhone or a car or a house in Alabang. It’s like “If you can’t give us what we want, where did you bring the money?”

In other words, politicians are gods with Swiss bank accounts. The people are cleanly faultless about their being poor because their lives depend on them. That is to say a politician is corrupt and should be impeached and be given to a lynch mob if he can’t send us via express delivery a box of pizza three times a day.

What if I don’t meet the demands of the people?

What if I can’t be as shameless as the politicos ahead of me?

I might as well shoot myself in the balls for inadequacy.

Which is why I don’t understand why so many aspire for public office. You want to improve the country (the way people want it)? The country has no funds. So abonado ka pa. Perhaps, that is also why we regard politicians with suspicion. Because, if you don’t run for office as just another crook, then what are you? A philanthropist? A martyr?

By that same logic, I don’t understand why we continue electing politicians.

But “there is no utopia.” Because if there is, what would we need politicians for?

My theory is that poverty and corruption is contrived so that politicians have something to say in their speeches, so that we continue to vote because we perpetually hope for a change.

And hoping for a change is not like we need a new set of leaders. Voting is about the need for a new set of scapegoats. Because we can never get an iPhone or a car or a house in Alabang courtesy of a politico and, if we pounce on the same Noynoy forever, it’s gonna be boring.

We don’t need leaders. We already have a lot of them. The people who write unsolicited opinions in the papers. That typical cynic prototype who votes now only to say later on “That’s not how to run the country, stupid!” We are inbred critics who know better than any politico. And the irony is that telling the president what to do, rather than being told of what to do, makes us good citizens.

Politicians are just titular leaders. We hire them so that, when something bad happens, there would be heads to roll and we can have clowns to burn at the stake for entertainment.

We elect politicians not because we need leaders. We elect politicians because the Philippines is essentially a poor country, and we need someone to blame.

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