Tell it to SunStar: Stop fooling around

HOW do we tell our politicians that they cannot budots their way into being fit for government?

The Filipino people have been the butt of their poor-tasted, offensive, political jokes for far too long, and we are sick and tired of it, of never being taken seriously. We are sick and tired of our power as a people—as the very heart and soul of our nation—being parodied over and over again by these stand-up comedians we call “leaders.” But most of all, we are sick and tired of them ignoring our cries for justice, because instead, they hear them as cheers and laughter that egg them on to joke around even more. All that because they can’t—won’t—get the message.

Their ears are too stuffed with cottony clouds to hear us from down below. Their heads are too far up in the sky to listen to the cries of those left on earth. They are too far gone into their own glorified versions of heaven that they forget that their “gods” have been trying to drag them back down to the hell that they’ve doomed all of us to live in.

There is, however, one solution—a way to break them out of their realm of insensitivity and bring them back to the reality of what should have been their terms of service. Although, you may hate me for it. No, not because it is controversial, but because it is something we have all heard over and over again from our teachers and mentors that just want us to take class officer elections seriously. Yes. The answer is in our recently concluded classroom elections. Before you storm out thinking that this is another “preaching to the choir” moment, where everything you’ve heard before is repeated in different words but in the same monotonous voice that fails to inspire, you should know.

Maybe it is exactly that. Maybe I am just echoing to you everything that’s already been screamed at you. But maybe one more preaching is just what we need to wake all of us out of our stupor. Taking class elections seriously, holding our officers accountable, and treating positions we are entrusted to fulfill with utmost respect—all these send a message. They tell our politicians that we are no longer taking any jokes from anyone. We have to tell them that, in the society we live in today, there is no room whatsoever for any fooling around—not even in our classrooms. Leadership is too precious a concept to tarnish. Responsibility is too much of a treasure to be turned to rust by such immaturity. Accountability is too high an honor to ever be taken lightly. Politicians should realize all these, too.

But, the second, and more important message these actions send is actually a message to ourselves. It is a message that reminds us that we cannot stand for less than what we deserve. It is a message that reminds us that we are the people—and the people should never be taken lightly. It is a message that reminds us that we have no room for leaders made of budots and bugoy jokes. The only leaders we need are the ones who actually have the heart to lead. And it all starts in the classroom.

In our microcosm, we build who we are and the nation we want for ourselves. Our leaders, how we treat them, and how we are as leaders are not limited to the four walls of the classroom. They extend beyond us, and manifest themselves in the kind of leaders we allow to come into power. We are what we do—even at an age this young. Let us not take it for granted. (By Natania Shay Du, SHS-Ateneo de Cebu)