Today is May 10, 2010, and it is the first time I have voted.
I felt a bit strange going there, dressed up with a shirt saying (in Bisaya/Cebuano) 'My Vote is Sacred, Don't Buy Me.' but as my family was all in such an attire I went along with it.
The whole election thing felt rather distant until recently, and even today I felt a certain disconnect between myself and the whole political system. But as I sat down and started marking my candidates on that sheet I couldn't help but feel a faint nervous energy running through me.
I was thinking, 'This is it. I'm actually voting. I'm actually a part of the process that could help determine where our country, from the nation as a whole down to our baranggays, could be directed for the next few years." It was a realization that made me feel a little bit empowered. It felt good.
Then other thoughts intruded - I also realized that amidst all this, there were so many factors at play to cheat or twist the system. It angered me somewhat, deep inside, that this sort of thing was happening. All these sort of actions undermined basic human respect for other people and subverted the ideas of freedom and free will.
I could only pray that the people of this country, its citizens, could vote - regardless of whom they voted for, that they were able to exercise their legal, God-given right. We may not have a system that works too well, but at the end of the day we have done our part.
To those who refused to vote, I can only say this, "If we don't love this country, who else will?"
"John Gaisano III, Cluster 58, #47, PN-0228A."