What is true freedom?

The 2010 Presidential Elections are just around the corner and the notion of democracy and its core value, that of freedom has been on my mind.

I still remember the US Presidential Elections some 2 years ago and boy is it different from what we have in the Philippines. We’re a little less than 2 months away from the elections and I do NOT have a clear picture of the platforms or planned projects of ANY presidential candidate as of yet.

The disturbing thing is the media doesn’t seem to be hounding the “presidentiables” about this and are just reporting fluff or the political gos*crap*sip that I bet came from these same president-wannabes.

Moreover, the candidates seem to be more interested in raising their popularity with statements like “If I’m elected, I’ll go after Gloria,” or “Hindi ako magnanakaw” which translates to “I won’t steal/I am not a thief”. Now, I can’t say I don’t understand why they choose to not dwell on the issues but rather on their image because the vast majority of voters, at least in the context of the Philippines, can be categorized as “masa”.

Now, “masa” can be loosely translated as “the many” or “majority”, but in the Philippine context, it’s the low-income, low-literacy, bottom of the societal hierarchy in country that makes up most of the voting population. This means that most of the voters, to put it bluntly, are stupid. Stupid in the sense that 1.) they don’t think for themselves, 2.) they don’t know what they really need, 3.) they don’t know who they really want, 4.) they don’t know who their friends really are, and lastly that they’re stupidity prolongs and worsens their suffering.

As it is, the government isn’t really interested in eliminating poverty, because the politicians who makes up the government will lose their voting-livestock. Why in the world are there so many slums/squatter areas even in the National Capital Region? It’s a pool for cheap votes!

Now, I’m not a heartless human being, but I am very frustrated with the way things are. The way I see it, nothing good is happening in the Philippines. Many of the youth are studying so they could go abroad for greener pastures (and I am one of them). Every new president brings new people into government, and with new people comes new baggage, and we all know that everyone has a few skeletons hidden away somewhere. Couple that with politicians and political parties who’ve already spent BILLIONS in campaigning and then say “…WON’T TRY TO RECOUP CAMPAIGN EXPENSES”. BULLSHIT!

Although I cannot really blame our public servants for their “kurakot” (stealing) because, honestly, their pay-grade system is PITIFUL! A server in Hong Kong can possibly receive a salary equivalent to that of the Chief Executive of the country–the president!

But what can I do? It’s not like a single person, of no political stature or stardom as myself can do any bit of difference. Democracy in the Philippines is dead. But can we call a democracy a democracy when most of its participants don’t even participate in their best interest.

Can we really be called free when we’re just so trapped?

I can’t say we are.