Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Filipinos Should Look At Bernie Sanders To See What A Great Presidential Candidate Looks Like

The United States of America and the Philippines will be electing new Presidents next year - the Philippines in May and the United States in November. As someone who closely follows the politics of both countries, there are many instances wherein I can't help but compare the way Filipino politicians conduct themselves as opposed to their American counterparts. For instance, the American Presidential candidates are now in the thick of debating each other on issues that matter to the American people. Filipino Presidential candidates, on the other hand, are busy fighting each other like six-year old boys fighting over a miniature truck. Most of them, anyway.

Today, the Presidential candidates from the Democratic party held their first debate on live television. It was aired by CNN and was moderated by Anderson Cooper. It was a very interesting debate as the five candidates engaged each other respectfully and tried their best to answer all the queries thrown at them. The candidate who truly struck a chord with me is Bernie Sanders, a Senator from the state of Vermont. I knew that he will do really good at the debate considering his background and his almost encyclopedic knowledge of the important issues bugging America but I didn't expect him to be as articulate the way he was during the whole debate.

I've been a huge fan of Sanders and his brand of politics (he describes himself as a democratic socialist) from the day he announced his candidacy several months ago. Before I came across the man and his views, I didn't even know that the concept of democratic socialism existed. The man has a clean slate. His views are always on point. His track record speaks for itself. But the thing that I love the most about the man is his no-bullshit attitude when talking about America's problems and when he's answering questions from the media. He always sticks with the issues.

This no-bullshit attitude was in full display during the debate hosted by CNN. In the beginning of the debate when Anderson Cooper asked the candidates to introduce themselves to the audience and viewers, the other four candidates introduced themselves by talking how they were former mayors, how they were former senators, that they have sons in the military, that they have beautiful wives who support them, that they introduced laws that helped this and that. They were basically bragging. When it was Sanders' turn to introduce himself, he immediately dug into the issues that should be discussed during the debate. If I remember it right, he didn't even mention that he is a Senator. He stuck with the issues because he knows that the debate shouldn't be about the candidates, it should be about what they can do to address the ills of the nation.
The man also has class. There were many instances in the past when the media tried to lure him into talking trash about the other candidates. But instead of jumping into their traps, Sanders fearlessly called them out on their sensationalism and war-mongering. He has always stated that he is not one who would personally attack the other candidates. He once said, "I don't do negative ads. I don't engage in personal attacks. Let's debate the issues." Spoken like a true politician.

Here's an inspiring quote from a speech Sanders delivered at the Liberty University (a conservative college which means it's a bastion for the Republican party): "I believe from the bottom of my heart that it is vitally important for those of us who hold different views to be able to engage in a civil discourse. Too often in our country, and I think both sides bare responsibility for us, there is too much shouting at each other, there is too much making fun of each other."

So here's my message to my fellow Filipino voters: if you want to see what a great politician looks like, gaze at Bernie Sanders. He may not be running for President in our country but he espouses the attributes that we should look for when we choose our own President come May.