Are you one of us?

By Lcid Crescent D. Fernandez

In last years Black Panther movie by Marvel Studios, a nation that had differing ideas as to its role in the world fought a civil war. On one side, we had the traditional king who wanted to preserve the isolationist Wakanda of his forefathers. On the other side, there was the usurper, who thought Wakanda should dominate the rest of the world. But the narrative of the story in terms of the views of the people within were less about these conflicting ideologies. Instead, it was more about who was the one representing that ideology.

In the aftermath of the voting and in the middle of the chaos of the counting, that basic principle of the elections still exist. It has never been about the measurement of qualifications, but the idea of representation. Its not about who is smartest or best. Its about who is one of us.

This is the disconnect between the youth who have immense access to social media and education versus that of the general populace. The view that democracy should be exercised to choose the best option among the candidates was never a reality. Even in the bible, the people chose to save Barabbas over Jesus. In Game of Thrones, the assassination of Ned Stark was met with great support.

This does not mean that its wrong to be a smart or qualified candidate. It simply shows that the first line of thought for a voter is, can this person represent me? All other qualifications come after that. Thus, as a candidate, its less about what Ive done and what I can do for you. Its more about who I am and how I can be you while Im up there in that position. We are hotwired to think that we must take care of our own family, our own culture, our own people.


Who best to do that but one of us?

This is one of the reasons Revillas campaign was very strategic. He could not win on the basis of his track record nor his achievements. So, he used his already established popularity to show them that he could dance budots, a universal idea that everyone was familiar with. Instantly, people saw themselves in him. And now, he is again poised to sit as Senator of the Republic of the Philippines.

As a voter, then, the message of this person is the best so vote him as he is a cut above the rest of us is a flimsy position to take in engaging with the public. Its very difficult to understand rare accomplishments like scholastic achievement because very few people actually experience that. It alienates them and makes them come face to face with the fact that they could never achieve that. Thus, the principle of representation is destroyed. The candidate is not someone like the prospective voter, theyre better. And for people whose focus is simply to survive day to day, they dont want someone better. They want someone like them.

After all, even if Killmonger was Wakandan, Black Panther and his people fought to remove him, saying, an outsider, an enemy sits on the throne.

Like them, we made our choice based not on who was the best.

We chose ourselves.