It is the second week of April and among the headlines daily are the high temperatures felt in many places. On social media, users rant about the heat and how it makes the simplest of routines, especially those done outdoors and without the benefit of air conditioning, unbearable.
The heat approximates the pinch being felt by presidential and vice presidential candidates in these last few weeks before the elections. They no longer make any pretensions to courtesy or decency. Instead they openly mock each other, jumping on their rivals at the slightest provocation. They know that the stakes are high and that anything can still happen. So, the gloves are off.
The vice presidential debates last Sunday was proof that desperate candidates will throw anything at their opponents even as these do not have basis in fact or logic. It was entertaining to watch, actually—if only governance were a matter of pure entertainment.
Unfortunately, it is not. What it takes to move this nation forward is not an assortment of sound bytes and clever, if not malicious, swipes at one’s rival. It is, instead, a boring, sober and steady stream of decisions and actions based on hard evidence.
This of course will not appeal to Filipino voters, who eagerly consume the supply of trashy politics that our candidates provide and fuel the cycle by demanding it. Rabid supporters of one candidate for instance are unforgiving about negative comments about their idol, even as they themselves hardly give substantive talking points outside of their controversial statements.
Elevating the level of discourse and talking constructively and calmly about how to solve this nation’s ills beyond one’s term appears impossible . In the end it’s about winning, not by being the best candidate, but by being the best at pulling the others down. So much for inspirational leadership.