imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

IN MY EYES: Post-election thoughts

Election fever still, fellas.

Losing candidates do not only feel bad these days; they are actually sick.

Aggurigorda,” says Mang Maing.

Being sick is just natural for those who shelled out millions only to be picked up in the kangkongan. The hectic campaigns under a 43-degree summer heat was indeed exhausting.

There are some mayoralty parties where everyone lost from the mayor down to the councilors although they were supposed to win in some mock surveys. It turned out the least regarded party won straight, leaving the other candidates biting the dust and asking what happened.

One candidate resorted to criticizing his fellow candidates from Day 1 to Day last. In the process, he made himself visible in the streets and in the media, hurling his attacks over and over again. But he was a “boxer.” He would not shell out money to “please” the people.

He lost.

One analyst said: “He lost because he was a ‘boxer’ and because the people have gone tired of his daily attacks of the other party that kept its.”

But on the other hand, running and losing is something healthy.

Listen to netizen Shannon Watson:

“Did you lose your race? Congratulations!

That’s an awful thing to say right after the election, right? How could I be so insensitive and mock your pain? I’m not mocking. I’m totally serious.

If you lost, that means you ran. You took a chance and put yourself out there. It took guts. Too many people are happy to shout from the sidelines, to criticize and critique and point fingers at what’s wrong. By running, you took responsibility.  You stopped being a spectator and became an active part of solving a problem.

If you lost, that means you and your friends and family and supporters took time and energy and money and applied it toward the democratic process. You built a team of people who feel the way you do and turned those feelings into action.  

Apathy is the worst enemy of democracy, and you brought new blood into the game.

If you lost, it means you stepped up to provide a different option on the ballot. Without challengers, there is no choice for people to make. Without a choice, voting means less and citizens often feel like there’s no point in going to the polls.

If you lost, that means you thought long and hard about the values that you want to apply to making your community better. You formulated ideas and found a way to articulate them to others. You learned how to be persuasive and to respectfully converse with those who disagreed with you.

If you lost, it means that you tried and are now accepting an outcome that you were not hoping for. Abiding by the will of the majority and having a peaceful transfer of power between opponents are founding principles of our country. That can only happen when all participants abide by the rules.”

One of the most exciting parts of election processes is when 2 strong candidates clash. It’s like watching a 7th deciding game in the NBA. It’s a sellout crowd.

One of such much anticipated battles in Ilocos Sur politics were the clash for the mayor’s position in Narvacan town between former Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson and former Mayor Edgar Zaragoza whose family had been ruling the town the last 30 years.

Another was the battle for the 1st congressional district position between Congressman Deogracias Victor “DV” Savellano, Governor Ryan Singson’s father-in-law and former Congressman Ronald Singson, Chavit’s son.

Apo Chavit won by a landslide while Congressman DV won by a hairline.

And so, was our midterm elections healthy?

A country cannot be truly democratic until its citizens have the opportunity to choose their representatives through elections that are free and fair.

Critical development efforts cannot succeed without a legitimate and democratically elected government that is responsive and accountable to its citizens. Elections provide an important opportunity to advance democratization and encourage political liberalization. 

  For an election to be free and fair, certain civil liberties, such as the freedoms of speech, association and assembly, are required. 

Elections can be a primary tool to foster political openings and expand political participation. 

Electoral processes offer political parties and civic groups an opportunity to mobilize and organize supporters and sharealternative platforms with the public. 

Elections also serve to encourage political debate and public dialogue.

And so, we had some great fights last May 13, fellas.

To the winner, congratulations. To the losers, think there’s another time.

God bless our country.