Servants of the people

In Ukraine, a comedian just got swept into the presidency by a landslide victory over the incumbent.

Forty-one-year-old Volodymyr Zelensky took 73 percent of the votes against Petro Poroshenko's 24 percent. He told his supporters he would not let them down.

Zelensky became popular for starring in a satirical television series called Servant of the People, available even in other countries through the streaming site Netflix. The show casts Zelensky as a poor schoolteacher who stumbles into the presidency after a profanity-laced anti-corruption rant goes viral.

Servants of the people

While the show is set in a fictional Ukraine, it tackles themes that are all too pressing in that country: Oligarchy, Ukraine's place in Europe and in the world, language and identity, the role of the media. It mirrors a complex reality, CNN says.

It's a daunting task that the young and inexperienced comedian faces. And now we wonder how much or how little of these tendencies are shared by Filipinos at this crucial juncture, just a few weeks before the midterm elections.

We here would have no firsthand knowledge of why exactly the Ukrainians decided to go, overwhelmingly, in favor of Zelensky. Were they fed up with traditional politics, did they deem it better to try the devil they didn't know than the one they did, did they believe that the political blank slate that the comedian is would be better than the recorded deeds and misdeeds of their usual leaders?

It appears though, that the opposite is true: Based on the results of poll surveys, Filipinos are much more willing to cast their lot with the familiar names—those already known in politics and even in show business—making the exception for new names only if they are phenomenal or endorsed by the still-popular president.

Then again, the comedy that Zelensky seems to be more sobering than the slapstick type that the usual names are inclined to give us. Unfortunately, what we know so well may be funny and entertaining—but not any good in the long run. If we continue to be lazy about the choices we make in the next polls, then the “servants of the people” who will be sworn into office will not be public officials but entitled posers.

Topics: Editorial , Servants of the people , Ukraine , Volodymyr Zelensky , Petro Poroshenko , presidency
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