TaN: Is it ethical if and when an individual campaigns for a candidate whom s/he will not vote for, especially if and when the candidate wins due to the individual’s efforts — just because s/he was paid? Is it just a matter of “being professional” or “nothing personal”?
Does doing one’s job or profession, especially when one is (well) compensated or rewarded, a justifiable excuse to go against one’s principles or at least one’s convictions or preferences? If so, when or at what point does it become unethical? Where or when do we draw the line and declare that it has become unethical?
Almost always, when money or selfish self-interest — i.e., self-interest is qualified, that when one’s interest gets in the way and causes harm or disadvantage to others because there are instances, no matter how rare or infrequent, that self-interest does not conflict with the rights and welfare of others — the question of ethics arise. A dilemma usually emerges only when a sense of guilt or our conscience begins to bother us.
Anyway, going back…it is not always unethical to accept payment or some sort of compensation in such situations. This is somewhat similar to the moral dilemma brought up in the movie Bridge of Spies — when a lawyer has to defend the rights of a foreign spy. Regardless of whether a person is a citizen or not, there are certain rights that are (or should be) inalienable to all and these must never be compromised irrespective of the circumstances. We are not animals or barbarians. Civilized (and mature) people know and respect the universal inalienable rights enjoyed by a person. [I recommend watching the said movie.]
In the end, only we can say for certain that being compensated or rewarded for work done is ethical when we do not have our hearts in it — if we are sincere and honest to ourselves.
TaN: People who will accept compensation — financial or otherwise — or will justify endorsements in exchange for principles (like endorsing candidates whom one will not vote for or vouching for products that one does not and/or will never use) will just about sell his/her very soul if the price is right. There will be nothing sacred to these people.
Although it is true that everyone and everything has a price, it is not so much the pricing as what is being priced and what is the price. For instance, one does not compromise one’s beliefs and convictions unless the belief or the conviction is wrong or incorrectly arrived at. But to exchange something as important and essential as a principle for something as petty as money only shows how easily that person can be “bought”.
People with principles would volunteer their time and effort to the candidate of their choice and not accept any form of financial compensation or remuneration for work or favors done. It would be an insult to their candidate of choice. The best compromise is for the candidate to provide food and transportation services and other amenities that will not be considered some sort of “pay-off or bribery” — not allowance, although in some cases it would not be unethical — (because paying someone to work in or on your campaign but who will not vote for you can be considered a form of bribery).
Having to pay for the services (and endorsements) of others, for a candidate, only means that the candidate is not accepted or has few supporters and believers. And this is a warning to the electorate. However, it should be investigated as to the reason for the “unpopularity” for it is possible that the candidate is a victim of black propaganda and demolition jobs by clever and nefarious rival campaign managers and strategists. It is a confusing world and it keeps getting more confusing and murkier every moment.
TaN: Observing how Philippine election campaigns are being conducted, I suddenly realized that either the average voter maturity or the candidate’s perception of the average voter’s maturity has not developed (much). Most campaigns are still being conducted using slogans, jingles, street shows, and various other gimmicks that are usually applied to young and impressionable minds — like those of children. It can be noticed that to get the attention of children, one must resort to different means, like flashy advertisements and posters, tunes containing the campaign pitch or, worse, meaningless and un-informative music — actually more appropriately labeled as noise and audio pollutants — and giveaways. Such practices are usually applied when teaching children in pre-school and lower primary levels.
It would really be insulting and embarrassing except that most of the electorate not only do not notice it but even enjoy and echo the senseless dribble. Truly, it is shameful and pitiful to claim democracy when democracy is only for mature societies and cultures and the Philippines is obviously way too far from being mature. This would explain the rampant and pernicious corruption, the juvenile elections, and all the other manifestations of immaturity and easily influence-able or impressionable minds — minds that are typical of children, of people who may be highly-intelligent but emotionally unprepared or underdeveloped.
Such shenanigans may be entertaining to most of the populace but are very irritating and disturbing to those who have other more important things to do — obstructing roadways (without prior notice), plastering every available space in the vicinity with humongous streamers and campaign posters (and blocking views and obstructing the free flow of much-needed breeze), and saturating the air with nonsensical and polluting campaign noise and what-passes-for entertainment.
It is no wonder that Philippine politics is still as sorry and pitiful as it is. It has not grown up, has not evolved and matured, has not become a true democracy since the beginning of this republic — for democracy is only for a mature and responsible society. In the hands of a society like that of the Philippines — i.e., for most of the population, especially among those who are more concerned with sports, entertainment, and other lesser concerns in the presence of more pressing and urgent matters such as poverty, malnutrition, corruption, uncurable (not incurable) but only “maintained” diseases and syndromes, meaningless jobs and careers (instead of more nurturing of and to the spirit and psyche), and human rights violations — democracy is more of a joke, a cruel joke.
As a campaign strategy, people — i.e., most — still respond to song-and-dance acts, comedy skits and slapstick shows, sensationalism during news and ambush interviews, and the like. The latest ploy to institutionalize debates is but a feeble attempt to project some kind of maturity but it is superficial at best.
There is no real progress or improvement in Philippine politics and it looks like the same is transpiring in the United States of America. Their politics — i.e., that of the USA — appears to be degenerating into something akin to Philippine politics — although they have not yet “advanced or devolved” to the degree or level the Philippines has “achieved” or sunk to…yet.
True mature politics involve serious and solemn town hall meetings with the people so as to get their true sentiments and concerns. There is no room for antics and shenanigans and the people should be able to see through empty promises and cleverly-veiled half-truths. Time with the people is too precious and far in between to waste it on inane and useless and self-serving mud-slinging, name-calling, slander and accusations (and squid tactics), and what-have-yous.
It is for this/these reasons that a strong public opinion (and vigilant and involved/concerned citizenry) be developed, maintained and sustained. Like what is embodied in the USA Constitution, the people must have the right and capability to defend themselves against an unjust and oppressive government (that has been commandeered and hijacked by a cabal of self-serving special interest group/s) — their 2nd Amendment: the right to bear arms.
It is really sad that the state of politics in the Philippines has not developed and evolved since the birth of the republic and its fledgling democracy. And to think the country prides itself as the only Catholic country in Asia. I shudder to think what God thinks of our boastfulness.
TaN: My last word — because it is time to stop campaigning and commence the decision process. This latest development between Mr Roxas and Ms Poe and instigated apparently by the former is damaging in my perception and opinion. It certainly changed my view and impression.
It must be remembered that, although it is understandable to be concerned that the presidency not go to someone perceived to be bad for the country, it is nevertheless unethical and wrong to thwart the will of the people. If a great majority of the citizenry is “convinced” that a certain candidate is their choice, even if s/he is perceived by others (who are influential and powerful) to be unfit or even wrong, they have neither business nor right to subvert the “will” of the electorate.
And this is precisely what seems to be the objective of calling for a meeting (for unity). The reason is obvious and I salute the sincerity and nobleness of Mr Roxas’ (good) intentions but, as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. People must respect the decision of the majority in a democracy and the last time I checked, we still have a democracy — regardless of how dysfunctional and frustrating the democracy may be.