Shaded by Aries N. Oliveros

If voting can change the future of our country, what are you willing to change?

A sea of shirts and blouses rippled in whirlpools as they flocked the crowded corridors and classrooms of a public school. Every corner echoed the desire to exercise the right of suffrage in this country where democracy is its lifeblood and where liberty can become a harsh reality. Voters darkened the small ovals that determined the fate of their bets and the future of the nation. They left sweating and marked with indelible ink.

With high hopes to have a better nation in the next six years, the Filipinos cast their votes last May 9. In my case, I traveled from Clark, Pampanga to vote in Dr. Alejandro Albert Elementary School in Sampaloc, Manila. The distance I traveled and the two hours I spent commuting to exercise my freedom and respond to my duty as a Filipino were all worth it.

A closer look at the bigger picture of the 2016presidential election, I saw a sheer contrast of pigments, a variety of tinted socio-political reality, and the striking hues of imperfections in our land not just of eager rivalry and sordid love of gains but also of collective passion and the distinct Filipino psyche.

Red goes to the brave and mighty political warriors who faced their foes and use their established credibility and dignity to protect their names and serve their constituents. Courage runs in their veins as they expand their sphere of influence in the lives of the needy, in the quest for justice, and in the fight against poverty.

Green matches those who envied their opponents winning the hearts of the voters and topping the surveys. The more critical these green-eyed monsters displayed their power, the greater faith and confidence their victims needed to shield themselves against the nefarious words and sordid acts of their oppressors in the kangaroo court of deceit.

Brown equals individuals who joined the bandwa1gon of insults and foul jokes on the candidates’ appearance, background, and flaws. They wrongfully soiled their hands in every offensive picture or statement they posted and shared in social media. They also contaminated others by their political vendetta by creating a moral fiasco that fooled the undereducated and underserved rich and poor Filipinos here and abroad. The same soiled hands turned social media as filthy as the streets dec-orated by non-biodegradable portraits of politicians brandishing their sweet promises—obscure blessings of sort.

Blue complements those who lost the race but humbly accepted the hard blow of defeat. They are the leaders our country needs, for they do not allow the bitterness of setbacks destroy their moral principles. Not even popular vote and the support of the majority whose decision is not always right can subdue their willingness to serve and help others.

Yellow fits the citizens who upheld the essence of democracy by voting wisely, freely, and conscientiously. Their rejection of vote buying and their careful analysis of issues over personalities marked true and personal electoral reform that starts from within. Likewise, yellow suited the candidates, regardless of their political party, who ran and won to serve for the common good. 

Black corresponds to those who have lost relatives due to election violence. Those who were silenced and harassed to hold their tongues from revealing compelling information that the public deserves to know are also wrapped with the darkness of fear.

Grey ties in with flying voters, vote buyers, and vote sellers who be-came liabilities in the election. They remained in the bleak abyss of Philippine democracy for choosing easy money over their dignity. Sadly, we can’t just blame them. In a culture where all alike is poor, we can only look forward to a blissful prospect of change.

White goes perfectly with the public school teachers who whole-heartedly served during the election. They endure the heat, thirst, and hunger while attending to the needs of the demanding and irritable voters. They tried their best to serve the public amidst the technical glitches of the vote-counting machines (VCMs) and work beyond the minimum hours of service as their family fervently pray for their welfare, especially those in hostility-stricken precincts. White is also appropriate for the election volunteers who assisted in the pursuit of a clean, fair and honest election.

We are all shaded. These eight colors are just mere representative samples of the bigger spectrum that illuminates Philippine politics. The shades of truth will guide us to the right path our nation deserves.

In the recent election, Filipinos fought for their freedom and how we can alter the hard blows of history at the tip of our finger. I hope that the kind of change to come is a positive one. We had enough social in-justices that caused sufferings and divisions.

As a teacher, I consider voting as a national pride. I hope to use my influence for us to grow as a nation, to banish the evils of today, and to keep the promise of positive change. With a tinge of amazement, I marvel at the Philippine political landscape as mound of hope making wonders in the eternal glow of sunrise and in the timeless shades of twilight.