The Real Reason Why We Will Vote in Shopping Malls in 2016

When I tweeted about what an awesome experience it was for me to have my biometrics done in the comfort of a shopping mall and wished I could vote under the same conditions, I did not expect the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to take me seriously.

Well, Comelec did last November 3 and we can now vote in shopping malls for the 2016 national elections.

Apparently this decision (6 votes to 1 in favor of voting in malls) was inspired by the positive outcome of conducting voters’ registration in malls, according to Comelec Chair Andy Bautista. He said it is part of “enhancing the voting process” and make it “more comfortable and convenient.”

The Omnibus Election Code provides for the use of “other appropriate private buildings” during elections if no public schools or other public buildings are available.

Two big mall operators, SM Supermalls and Robinsons Malls, have already agreed to host polling precincts in 2016.

There are some people critical of shopping malls because they tend to kill our homegrown downtown shopping experience and cause small local businesses to close down. Not to mention the environmental impact of all that paved over and concreted land and all that traffic.

I am not one of those people. I really like going to shopping malls. My usual complaint about a mall is the fact that it does not have everything I want. Like a laboratory where I can have my blood work done. Although there is probably already a mall somewhere in the world that offers that service but there’s not one near where I live.

So I really like the idea of casting my vote for the next president of the Philippines in the comforts of my favorite shopping mall. It is the least Comelec can do for me with the disappointing choices they currently have for presidential candidates.

Yes, if I vote in a shopping mall it will ease my frustration of having to settle for the “least evil” presidential candidate because I know I will have better choices with the shoes on sale. I know it is not the same thing, but would you rather I not vote and just go directly to shopping for shoes?

It is a great tragedy that elections all over the world, not just in the Philippines, have become about choosing the least evil among the candidates. It means that we only have evil leaders to choose from.

Government is the biggest and most profitable business in the world. There are many creative ways you can control and manipulate things and people so they benefit you when you hold public office. Because a public office is a public trust. The public trust you and assume you only have the public good in mind.

So, of course, such opportunity for control and manipulation is very attractive to sociopaths and psychopaths. Thus, the evil choices every election.

Well, people are starting to become aware that they have been deceived and abused for so long by their elected leaders. They start to question and protest and organize and mobilize for change. But the government is the biggest and most powerful organized syndicate. It makes the rules and established the system and it is so rigged in favor of the evil leaders the same way the house always wins when you gamble in casinos.

When somebody who is good and capable and inspiring comes along and declares his or her candidacy, he or she is easily dismissed as a nuisance candidate. Because whoever runs for public office and proposes bold, radical changes in the system can only be crazy, right? Especially if that person does not have the support of the powerful political and economic elite.

And that is why Comelec will allow us to vote in shopping malls in the coming national elections to make the voting process comfortable and convenient for us. The climate-controlled environment will keep us cool so we will not rage against the current state of politics and governance in our country. The upbeat, happy mall music that manipulates our brain towards impulse buying will also trick us to hope that our vote will bring about meaningful change in our lives.  The appetizing food they sell in the malls will comfort us and lull us into complacency, making us more accepting of the status quo. And then there’s also that lovely pair of shoes on sale calling our name and making us forget about our personal and social problems.

Comelec is letting us vote in shopping malls as our consolation prize for putting up with the poor choices of candidates they have on the ballot.

First appeared on Mindanao Times, November 5, 2015