Many things about the remarkable campaign that made Barack Obama the first black president of the United States have been noted and commented upon, but an aspect that is particularly relevant to the Philippine political situation is the role played by the youth vote.
A new generation inspired a previous generation and that's how change happens in America.
Young people everywhere are in the process of imagining something different than what has come before us: Where there is war, they imagine peace. Where there is hunger, they imagine people being able to feed themselves. Where there is bigotry, they imagine togetherness.
There have been many attempts to reform electoral politics in the Philippines but they have all fizzled and failed. Various organizations have been formed and various movements have been started; prominent, progressive-thinking people have led these campaigns but they have failed to break the stranglehold of traditional politics on elections in the country. One big reason for this, perhaps, is the failure of these movements and organizations to harness the energy and idealism of the millions of young Filipinos.
In the United States, Obama, a former community organizer, saw the potential of the youth, harnessed them in his campaign, and thus made history and became the first black president of the country. Can't we make a similar thing happen in the Philippines?
The old generation is already set in its ways; it will be very hard to change old habits and ways of thinking. The old political dynasties and families will continue to try to keep their political hold on the life of the nation so that they can continue to promote their selfish personal and familial interests.
But the work of the youth should not be limited to voting. They can conduct a voter education program, and, we hope, they can change the ways of thinking of some old voters. It will be a case of the young teaching and leading the old into new pathways that would...
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