March 21, 2009 1 Comment
Hon. Jason Chaffetz, representative of the 3rd District of Utah in the U.S. House of Representatives, said a very powerful line in his commentary in CNN’s Freshmen series (read here). In his trip back home to his district, he was reminded of his vow to “represent Utah to Washington, and not the other way around”. Chaffetz is a first-term Republican in the U.S. Congress. He is also famous for sleeping inside his Capitol Hill office.
For many years, not only in America, or in the high halls of national legislatures, representation has been misunderstood or malpracticed. Politicians have been strong defenders of the great powers, instead of being defenders of the public interests. Instead of becoming representatives of the common good, they (politicians) have become representatives of their family’s interest. Representation is misunderstood in a sense that self-interest is what they usually represent, and what most of them represent. Representation is malpracticed because instead of politicians being the voice of the people to the leadership, they have become spokespersons of the government; defenders to a certain extent.
Filipinos have been sinking into the blackhole of political apathy, brought about by our distrust in the current political system and inconfidence to the nation’s leaders. Many of us have become apathetic because many of our duly elected leaders have become the shields of the government, becoming spokespeople of the government. Many of us distrust many of our leaders because we see that they have been representing nothing more than their own interest.
As we now begin the 14-month countdown to the 2010 national and local elections, it is nice to bear in mind that picking our representatives is the most fundamental aspect of a democracy. Representation is the core of our governmental principle, and therefore, must be taken care of and exercised with extreme discretion. From this point on, many political aspirants such as myself will begin waging our campaigns in the streets and households, hoping for your recognition. You will be seeing our faces in tarpaulins, flyers, in graduation programmes and souvenir items. But I hope that we all examine the aspirants closely, if they are true defenders and representatives of the public interest.
Peace. The run for 2010 has now begun.