THE Christmas season is a time for family reunions, when those living from afar come home in time for the traditional Noche Buena on Christmas Eve or Media Noche on New Year’s Eve.
This is part of the Filipino culture of putting premium value on family. It is the best time for the elders to show examples of patience, kindness and love to the younger generations.
There is a saying that goes, “A family does not have to be perfect; it just needs to be united.”
Love begins at home, as Mother Theresa said. “And it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action,” she qualified.
Yesterday was the Feast of the Holy Family, and I thought it fitting to write something about how family values figure in the situation we are in today, given a divisive electoral exercise coming up in less than five months.
When choosing a candidate for public office, I prefer those who keep the familial values of honesty, respect, discipline, or, in short, those who have good manners and right conduct.
I prefer candidates who are able to keep their families intact. Let me make it clear that it has nothing to do with foundlings, orphans, or bachelors because even foundlings have people they consider as families.
This becomes more relevant when the Confucian theory that “the strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home” comes to mind.
It is difficult to trust and be comfortable with a candidate who goes astray, or who takes his family for granted.
But, of course, it is a different story when it comes to a candidate who makes politics a family business to keep. A public office should never be treated as a piece of inheritance, or something that only one family can control.
There are many factors to consider in choosing a candidate, and family values definitely count substantially. Is it really public service or personal/family interest that motivates them to pursue the office?
With a few months left to Election Day, candidates for local and national positions are busy putting their best tricks to work to make their presence known in their target areas, especially during the Christmas season.
By this time, we should be scrutinizing them based on what they have done either in their previous public or private office. Have they delivered what they promised to do? Even in their private capacity, have they done public service without fanfare? Are they joining public service because a relative is running for another position?
Choosing candidates who rate well in periodic surveys is irresponsible. We have to be more discerning nowadays, with propagandists and detractors hiding behind assumed names in social media who are further sowing confusion by feeding the public with half-truths and outright lies.
Candidates who distribute dole-outs must be treated with suspicion. Where do they get the money for such? How would they try to recover their campaign spending if elected? Are they using public funds and resources to promote themselves?
But first, let us take a look into the family background of each candidate, and see through the motives for seeking public office.
It is extremely important as well to scrutinize the candidate’s positions on family values such as on issues involving honesty and integrity, marriage, education, religion and Christianity, gay marriage and taxes.
As Confucius said, “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”