Who’s Failing Who

“A man once said this, decisions are made by those who show up. So are we failing you or are you failing us? It’s a little of both.” – Pres. Jed Bartlet/Martin Sheen

That quote was from one of the scenes of the last episode of season one of “The West Wing”, an American TV drama written by Aaron Sorkin. The quote resonated with me because lately there’s been a lot of blaming and finger pointing going around. The most recent of which was about the Manila Hostage Crisis.

The quote made me think seriously. Why are we (Philippines) in the dumpster? Why is it that the rest of Asia, the world for that matter is slowly moving up and we’re still stuck in a rut? We’re almost at the same place we are 20 or so years ago save for some improvements. I mean sure we have new buildings, more roads, we have broadband, etc.. but as a core, I feel we’re still kind off in the same place where we are. We still see same faces and/or names running the government and we as a people still complain a lot but do little about it.

Our population is nearing the 100 million mark. Yet during the last elections there was only 50 plus million registered voters and out of those 50 million only around 37 million or 73% of those registered voters went out to vote. Less than half of the country’s population decided how the country would be run in the next 6 years. What’s worse, I have reason to believe that a majority of the portion of those who voted did not think about the candidates they voted for nor listened to the issues. A lot simply voted for personalities or were just convinced by other people to vote for whomever.
We are where we are because a lot of us don’t participate in building our nation. Sure we make our voices heard on Twitter or Facebook. We send out text messages and emails cursing the government and who ever we feel needs to be blamed for the ills of our nation. Yet when the time comes to actually make a difference we take it lightly or not take action at all.

The government is what it is because we allowed it to be such. For years we allowed corrupt and inept politicians to craft our laws and enforce them. When things go bad we simply accept it as “the way it is”. We want other people to fix our problems instead of being part of the solution.

If we want things to be better we need to participate. We need to be a part of the change that we want to see in our nation. Government can’t do it alone. They should do their jobs but we must do ours.

All of us can do something. We can start small. We can start small. Following simple rules and regulations, being aware of what’s happening around your community, participating in programs for your community, etc. We can grow from there. We need to start participating in debating the issues that affect us. Make our voices heard.

One of John F. Kennedy’s most famous lines is “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”. We need to start asking ourselves how can we be part of the solution? How can we start participating in helping build our nation?
If we’re don’t start participating more, then government isn’t the only that failed us, we failed ourselves.

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