Lessons from the Primaries-Editorial

Primary Lessons from the Primaries

Now it can be said: that with the ‘Filipino vote’ splitting between and among Filipino candidates, it is harder and harder now to send a politician of Philippine ancestry to a position of responsibility in public administration and governance.

There are several hard lessons that must be learned given the results.

One, those desiring to have themselves elected to a position of public service must be clear about their program of action.

Two, there must evolve a tactical alliance among those belonging to the same party in order to win more votes for a single candidate.

The splitting of votes can hardly push even the best qualified to win a post.

In some other electoral processes, there is clarity in say, a Latino vote.

That clarity is one reason why many politicians running for office are bent on counting such a vote, some kind of an imagined (but real) voting block that can wield so much political power.

But for the ‘Filipino vote’, we can hardly posit what this is, not in Hawaii, and not anywhere else in the United States.

We have yet to imagine what this is, and out of that imagination, we hope that something real, something resembling a ‘Filipino vote’ could come out and make its presence in the consciousness of politicians courting the Filipino community’s—the Filipino voters’—approval.

In this act of going politics and making good at it, there is much science as there is much art needed.

That science involves a systemic vote education campaign and alliance building.

That art involves the capacity to build trust among the voters.

In another light, a certain ethical end must guide a particular Filipino politician’s calculus of moves in order to get elected to public office.  

The sum of that end is non-negotiable: it is public service.

That public service is defined as a commitment to a cause grander than the individual cause of those wanting to take part in the day-to-day governance of our public lives.

A full understanding of what public good is, and the strategies to pursuing such a public good, marks that public service.

The aspiring Filipino politician’s failure to understand fully in the round what this is will show in his way of presenting himself.

The public symbols are all over the place, and the voters react to these public symbols.

Next time around, we do not want to see a parade of Filipino or Filipino-descended aspiring politicians who do not know what they are saying.

Next time around, we want to see Filipino or Filipino-descended politicos who make sense, and they make sense because they know full well the Filipino condition in the State of Hawaii.

That Filipino condition has so many ramifications, and the challenge is to understand that condition in all its ramifications.

The general elections of public officials are coming soon in November, on the Tuesday after the first Monday.

We look forward to some sense of success to those who survived the primaries.

The greater test, however, is their performance after winning in the general elections.

The general public will be watching.

Observer Editorial/
September 2012

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