I am writing this, for my nephews, nieces, godchildren, and grandchildren, especially those students who are emotionally affected by the results of the current election.
I can say that your generation is more vocal (or more bashers) than ours. I observe how you react, comment, post, and re-post on your Social Media accounts. And I am quite worried, maybe this is how my father felt when I started to exercise my right to vote. Because he knows that teenagers have the characteristics of being aggressive and adventurous.
Way back year 1998, I was in 3rd-year college and I am also like you, excited to do the right thing. The election day is always the second Monday of May as stated in our Constitution. And normally, it’s summertime or school break, so I choose to register in our province and join the PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council For Responsible Voting) to be a watcher. And it’s a national election with a President to vote and a lot of candidates/nominees such as (President) Joseph Estrada, Jose de Venecia, Raul Roco, Lito Osmena, Alfredo Lim, Renato de Villa, Mirriam Defensor Santiago, Juan Ponce Enrile, Santiago Dumlao, and Manuel Morato. So many political people really want to serve and be a leader of our country, it’s almost the same in the current election.
I accompanied my Auntie to line-up in Elementary School where our names has been listed. I took the sample ballot given by the people at the entrance of the school but we had our own list of candidates to vote for. Same as today, we wait for how many hours under the bright sun till our time to enter the respective precinct room to vote.
At 4pm we assemble in the church to check our designated area and timing to start to observe or watch the counting of votes where the teachers are doing it manually. Unlike today there are machines that will do it for them and consolidate. It took us overnight and that experience has a lot of realization for me as a teenager. To be responsible, not only for my vote but to watch and observe the environment in which I exist.
Everyone keeps on waiting for the result based on the people, friend, and neighbor together the other media like television and radio for the national candidates. Now, we can access it on Social Media and everybody within your friend list/friends can comment or discuss it over your timeline. Back then, we can discuss it with those who are watching tv with me, mostly my family or friends only. No violent reactions or unfollow or unfriend is happening, if we have a disagreement or opposite votes, we just tease and smile afterward. But now, it’s a big deal if someone bashes you or comments if you are in opposition and you really feel bad about it.
My father always told me, that if I will do any decision, I need to set aside my emotion. I need to think twice or thrice not to respond based on my emotion, especially on political topics. Yes, most activists people will open your emotion by way of provoking words so that you really feel how the world / or your environment is happening. Teenagers are like that, quite aggressive and uncontrollable sometimes, so we need to learn how to control our emotions and respond accordingly.
My mother is the one who sits down as a teacher and is in charge of one of the precincts or barangay in Tondo. I know the sacrifices they made every election day. She always told me not to be affected by the results, just be proud because I do the right thing. And it’s not the end of the world, just continue what you are doing. Maybe because she was a History Teacher and she knows that no matter what regime the Philippines will have, it really repeats its history but in a different scenario and people.
Hey kiddo, you are right, you need to express yourself and voice out. But remember in everything we do there are consequences and limitations even if we have a democracy or freedom of speech. Therefore do not be like an onionskin, accept others’ opinions and respect them. Do not be aggressive, set aside your emotion and think radically.