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Test of true citizenship

By Dan Jiminez
Dan JiminezPolitical pundits, both John McCain and Barack Obama and all those who think they know more about this presidential election than the ordinary citizen have emphasized how importantand life changing the coming exercise is. Joe Biden contends that the next President will determine the direction of the country ten years hence. And with the problems facing the economy, peace and security, education, health and social security, there seems to be no disagreement in this regard. Such can explain the unprecedented number of viewers for the speeches of Palin, Obama and McCain during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

With a wide TV audience, the top four candidates, proved their mettle in public speaking and justified the ratings. If their words can equal deeds, the public should not worry whoever gets elected. But words, especially a politician’s, are always double bladed. As such, the American people must do its job and make the right choice. Hyphenated citizens like Filipino-Americans included.

Being a Republican or a Democrat must not be the issue in the coming polls. Neither should be one’s faith nor race. Coming from a country where elections are most of the times a mockery of the democratic process, Filipino-Americans must grab this chance to participate in an election where one’s vote really counts. And one does not even have to feel threatened, be cajoled or be bought.

Responsible citizenship dictates that one should be knowledgeable and informed of the various issues and pertinent data in order to make an educated choice. Failing on this aspect can mean the winner
misrepresenting the public. Although a Presidential candidate does not equate to the Elective President even though they are one person, accountability in public office is something we can still bank on after the elections. Democracy works because the people work.

So what are some of the things we must look out for? First, the records. In various concerns, the voter must know where the candidates stood. The past is always a good prognosticator of the future . Second, character. Are the candidates’ words different from their deeds? How much service,
sacrifice and compassion have they rendered beyond the call of their office? Third, vision. What are the candidates’ plans? With all the problems swirling around, what do they propose to do? Fourth,
principles. Are they going to flip plop on issues? Will they take the road more politically rewarding and popular or stick by what is right regardless? Fifth, leadership. Do they inspire people to be good
citizens? Do they show in their lives, both public and private, what decent normal human beings should be? Sixth, perceptions. Who are they to their friends and associates? Who are they to adversaries and
opponents? Seventh, courage. Not just in war but in real life. What did they do after a fall, a mistake? What obstacles did they go through to be where they are? Eighth, the bottom line. What can they do for the world, for America, for the people, for each and one of us?

In the coming weeks, through debates and extensive media coverage, we will know more about these four who are aspiring to be this nation’s most powerful leaders. Judging on how their respective conventions were conducted, they will do a good job of presenting themselves. It is up to us to discern what they deal and decide what is best. We do not owe such to anybody but to ourselves.

danmeljim@hotmail.com

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