Democracy as we know it in the U.S. and the Philippines has not been well since the 2016 elections in the two countries. We can say that democracy in the two countries is “on a sick bed.”
The good thing is that ordinary citizens can do something to remedy this alarming situation by not allowing the life support plug to be pulled out and by turning the power on the ventilator so that democracy can recover its health.
Yes, the election on November 6, 2018 in the U.S. and the general election in the Philippines on May 13, 2019 brings hope as they can provide the antidote for democracy to recover from a two-year illness.
When there’s unhealthy leadership that borders or gets close to the so-called “ARS” (Authoritarian Rule Syndrome), ordinary citizens have to wake up and take decisive action through the power of their votes.
Is it a coincidence that the November election day in the U.S. and the May election in the Philippines are“sandwiched” between the holidays of death and rebirth?
In November every year, we have All Saints Day, Dia de los Muertos, All Soul’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Bonifacio Day (the birthday of Andres Bonifacio).
Then in May, there is the “May Day” celebration associated with the ancient spring festival and fiesta. The U.S. also celebrates Memorial Day or the day ofremembering the people who died while serving in the armed forces.
Although not a public holiday, May 10th is also marked in the Philippine calendar as the death of Andres Bonifacio who was executed after the controversial result of the election in the Tejeros Convention in Cavite.
My point in sharing the other important dates during the two election months (November and May) is to highlight the significance of birth, rebirth, and death in our lives.
In looking at positives and negatives, we realize that life matters. Health matters. And theintelligent choices as we cast our vote matters.
If we value democracy and our democratic institutions, we should take care of democracy’s health and the right that we have— the right to vote and suffrage and civic engagement— as this right is very important. The act of going to the polls or sending your mail-in ballots reaffirms the essence of the democratic process and tradition.
Let us vote and help candidates who are both reasonable and more representative of the public at large. There are many lessons that we learned after the 2016 elections in the U.S. and in the Philippines.
In the U.S., the low turnout of voters in the mid-term election in 2014 made the Republicans win majority in the Senate and the House of Representativesand pushed Trump’s victory in the battleground or swing states. There are always dangers in political disengagement.
Relative to America, the Philippine elections have yielded higher voter turn-out but there are more challenges that came out from that experience. Voter education and the practice of voting wisely and honestly were seen lacking in the Philippines. There is a need to encourage and act upon that need.
In the U.S., it is said that when more people vote, the electorate becomes more liberal. If Americans voted in proportion to their actual numbers, a majority would most likely support a vision for the country that is far different than what Trump and the Republicans in Congress espouse.
The message to us is very simple: The best way to protect our democracy isfor us to vote wisely.
Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California. His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases. Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio “Jojo” Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.