There’s an old adage which goes, “Winning is not everything. But wanting to win is.” This old wisdom applies not only to sports but to almost all aspects of life’s struggle. It underscores the one reality – we sure all fail at times. You can’t win them all at all times.
The best in every field have it for countless times. But they did not sulk in one corner and shun the world. No. These men and women have shown to the world, instead, that what counts the most was the drive to win and how they conduct themselves in their desire to win. And from the shoulders of these giants we took refuge when a loss comes once in a while.
This applies even to elections. There are those – and they are aplenty – who think winning an election is all there is. It is everything for them. That’s why these kinds of people would move heaven and mountain just to win. They are capable of doing anything – buy everything, people and institutions included, and even kill those who stand in the way. No wonder our electoral system has become one of the worst in the world.
When winning an election has become an obsession, a person is capable of doing anything at his or her disposal to win. Sadly, it is happening.
Gone was the time when an election is a referendum of a ruling government. It hardly is.
It has been said before the May 13 elections that a win for the administration candidates which include the likes of Bong Go, Bato de la Rosa, Bong Revilla, et al is a vote of confidence for the Duterte administration. Wrong. Only fools would say that knowing how the elections were conducted and how all the government resources were mobilized to emasculate the opposition. Far from being a vote of confidence, it was a naked display of raw power to finally bring all branches and institutions of the government under a monolithic rule.
Before May 13, President Duterte had the House of Representatives. Now, he has the Senate. Nothing now stands in his way. He can bulldoze his way to the Legislative Department, theoretically a co–equal body, making it virtually a rubber stamp.
Locally, the legitimate issues raised during the campaign period against those who seek re-elections would remain the same legitimate issues despite the re-elections of these officials. It cannot be used as a leverage to absolve the misdoings of those who must be held accountable before any bar of justice.
One cannot invoke the results of the elections as the barometer of either guilt or innocence. Far from it, in fact.
In our land where winning an election is everything has become normal, the victors cannot thump their chests with pride. They can hardly do it unless unprincipled politics, and all its ramifications, is king. They may have won but they cannot dismiss all the legitimate issues as mere elections propaganda. Far from it, in fact.
We have witnessed how the elections had become the playground of the corrupt and power-hungry politicians who never left even a single stone unturned to ensure victory. It is in this context we say that winning was losing.
Antonio M. Manaytay is the Publisher of Mindanao Sun.