I just got this in my Inbox today:
"Subject: Patronize Pirated DVD's
This is a text message currently circulating within the Philippines.
PLS patronize pirated DVD's so that the Filipino movie industry will die & we will no longer have actors, actresses, nor their spouses running for public office. Pls pass."
I hope that was forwarded in attempts at humor. Because it's so wrong on so many levels.
1) Perhaps I'm non-elitist in my view that just because you're an actor/actress doesn't necessarily mean you'll be a horrible politician. Herbert Bautista, for example, seems to do okay as vice mayor of Quezon City (but then again, it's usually Mayor Sonny Belmonte who's in the limelight). In the US, Governor Arnold Schwarzanegger (sorry if I spelled that wrong) seems to be doing well. Oh, and Ronald Reagan was a professional actor before he got elected as a president of the United States.
2) The author is assuming that just because no actor/actress is running for public office that the country will be a better place. No it won't -- we just end up with less scapegoats. I'm sure that there are other politicians who are worse that the so-called actors/actresses. The latter just draw more attention to themselves. And in the end, what perpetuates "corrupt" and "immoral" politicians aren't necessarily the politicians themselves but the system that contributes to it and the citizens that vote for them. That, my friends, is what it means to live in a democracy.
3) The point of patronizing pirated DVDs, according to the forwarded email, claims to do two things: to kill the local movie industry and so that no more actors/actresses will run for public office. First off, even assuming it does what the author wants it to do, what does that say of our country? That we need to resort to non-lawful means to achieve the results we want?
4) Again, assuming that it does what it's supposed to do, killing the local movie industry hurts a lot of innocent people and not just those planning to run for public office in the future. Who will feed the families of the various actors/actresses, directors, make-up artists, stylists, cameramen, stuntmen, extras, etc.? If the original writer could reply, he or she might say that's a "necessary sacrifice". But isn't that the state of the Philippines right now? Comfort for a privileged few in exchange for the suffering of the many? Aren't we simply trading one evil for another?
5) A spin-off of #3, it's honestly not the current actors/actresses who are running for public office. It's the actors/actresses who have retired from acting that are running for public office. In fact, what we should do is to encourage these people to keep on acting and leave the politicking to politicians. Killing the local movie industry will only motivate them more to run for office because they think they can fix things now that their life is more difficult than it was before.
If you don't want to vote for a certain politican -- don't. If you want to run an anti-campaign, fine. But please do not make broad, sweeping generalizations that simply do not work and floods my inbox.