Campaign Highlights: Youth and Random Conversations
Previously, I wrote about some experiences I’ve had during our recent rallies. Though each rally is a highlight by itself, there are two other aspects of the campaign that I’d also like to share with you: the first is the observation that the youth are more involved today than any other election we’ve had in recent history and the second concerns the random, unplanned conversations I have with different people and their effect on me.
Youth getting involved – When I ran for Senate in 2004, di pa uso ang Twitter, haha. Six years later, the youth seem to have invaded the online space and are actively campaigning for one candidate or the other. I am particularly heartened by Noynoy’s growing number of supporters in Facebook which show him to retain the top spot among the presidentiables online. Along a related aspect, have you noticed the number of universities that have conducted local surveys of their own? More than our previous elections, there seems to be an active push by both students and the academe to participate, if not influence, the 2010 vote. We also see it in the number of young people who are volunteering to campaign. The youth can no longer be said to sit idly by as corrupt leaders plunder the coffers of this nation and further erode the trust of its people. They will fight, in their own capacities, either in their schools or online, to take this country back, to fight for its future, which is their future.
Random unplanned meetings and conversations – Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I like to talk to people from all walks of life to get a sense of what they do for a living and what their problems are. I remember talking to waiters and cooks, farmers and fishermen, teachers and students, OFWs, street vendors, and even businessmen. Sometimes, I give advice. Sometimes I just listen, grateful that they are sharing a tale they feel strongly about. Minsan, pagkatapos ng kanilang kwento, they’d want a picture and I happily oblige. I think I gain more from the exchange though. While they receive a photo, I’m able to gain a different perspective on things that matter to different people. Sometimes, it reinforces my anger at the way we’ve allowed things to slide, at how a badly-run government continues to burden the people and deny their rights (eventually failing to protect them against predators). On the other hand, sometimes their stories help me see how government could do better to address their problems. The people I meet in these random encounters may or may not vote for me but they have shared their lives with me, even for the briefest of moments. And I’m thankful for that. What shines through is the courage of our people to battle the odds, to maintain a spirit of hope and dignity, and a quiet determination to do their part to change this country’s future.
These two aspects of the campaign – the stories I’ve heard coupled with the active participation of our youth – tell me the same thing: people want change and they want it now. In a few weeks time, we will hopefully see this happen. Malapit na po. As we go through these last few weeks together, I’d like to thank those who continue to support, who continue to work 24/7 to make a Noy-Mar tandem a reality after May 10. Your friendship, your trust, and your participation in this campaign will make the stories we’ve heard meaningful and will ensure that the next government will address the frustration of the youth, will listen to its demands of fairness, and give them what they want the most: a government without corruption, a government it can finally trust.