The things said about how people vote gets to be confusing because although most of them are correct some are not really exactly what they appear to be. Let me just focus on the other angle of the issue which is seldom talked about nor given more exposure so that we can widen the coverage of the discussion.
When talking about electorate we have to differentiate the classification of voters. We have the masa and the middle class and higher class of the voting public. I'm not saying it's just the masa that is guilty for they will not be able to vote for those questionable candidates without the help of those who are more educated and influential than them.
The criminals and the crooks get voted not because they are worthy but because they already established and enjoy advantage in terms of influence, bailwicks, followers and of course capital. For example, Erap, ousted as president for graft and corruption; elected as mayor of Manila. The same with Gloria Arroyo, tarnished by Hello Garci and corruption; electred as congresswoman. They get elected on pubic office because of the factors cited above and the kind of system we have.
The 'worthiness' of a candidate to the masa is not really about experience or education but how such candidate can be of help to them or how can they benefit from voting for such candidate. The same mentality pervades the thinking of majority of the electorate. How, then, can someone be stupid and dumb if he votes based on his interest and expectations? I'm not saying there is no dumb and stupid voters, for there are many. I'm just saying that most voters have their own criteria and biases as basis for selecting candidates.
The 'starstruck ignoramuses' issue is a different case. Of course, voting for popular movies and sport celebrities per se goes against the grain of how voting should be conducted. Right off the bat, those whose only basis to vote was because of the popularity of the candidate is wrong. No question. But let's put ourselves to the shoes of those who vote for celebrities for other reason. I say that because there are voters across the segment of the electorate who are done with traditional politicians. They have voted for decades and decades for these trapos only to get the same result. And it's getting worse because it's not only the trapos who are lining their pockets now but also their families and relatives. Given that scenario the appearance of celebrities in election ballots is a welcome development for these frustrated and disappointed electorate.
Then there is the nepotism, political dynasty issue, vote-buying and other issues that gives an impression that our electoral system is one that is a non-serious activity.
For me, I think we have to do something with the system that allows those wrong things to happen. Make our system/laws more strict and penalties more harsh. Strengthen and improve the guidelines in terms of qualification/disqualification of a candidate, among other things. Criticize, insult, ridicule and call names people if you must but so long as there is nothing to prevent them doing what they do it would only be an exercise in futility.
Having said that, though, I must admit, it won't be an easy task.
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