By Raoul Suarez
I know you are living a hard life. Most of us do. Most of us are born into poverty. Most of us are not lucky enough. We have to struggle daily and hold on to the belief that hard work, honesty, diligence, perseverance, integrity, and all sorts of values taught to us at home and in school, will carry us through as long as we continue to fight and climb our mountains day-by-day. Most of us were not born into well-off families. Most of us cannot afford to dine in fancy restaurants. Most of us live in a shack that’s enough to keep us warm and shelter us from the harm brought by the elements. We have to deal with the daily commute. We have to line up and wait for our turn in the grocery. We always have to be a part of the queue. Someday, we might be able to afford better things. Someday, we might make it, too, so we soldier on.
I know you are living a hard life. Most of us do. The smiling and outspoken man you see on TV telling you that he will usher in change while waving his hand high up in the air, he is not like you. He is not like us. He was not born into poverty. He was not born unlucky like most of us are. He has it all; all the things we wish we had too. Parents who can afford. A nice big house that does not plainly serve as a shelter from the elements, but one filled with the luxuries that most of us can only dream about. He can dine in fancy restaurants. He can eat whatever he likes without having to worry about the bill. He has a driver. He has a maid. He can afford to buy whatever his heart desires. We wish it were the same for us, too. We wish we could afford some of the luxuries this life has to offer. But no. We weren’t lucky enough. He is. We have to work for everything we have and for everything we need.
I know you are living a hard life. Most of us do. You struggle to get yourself an education. You burn the midnight oil so you can ace the exams or even just get a passing score so you can be closer to the dream of having a diploma. A piece of paper that will open doors to a job that will ease the burden and the hardships that you and your family face, day in and day out. You are forced study during the day and work during the night. You don’t have a lot of options anyway. You sleep irregularly just to ensure that your dream to finish your studies will become a reality. While some of us succeed there are others who were not able to make it. There are those who were not lucky enough to earn a degree. They toil on so their children will fare better in this life. They take odd jobs. They have to deal with low-balling employers just so their children can go to school. We all struggle like this. Most of us do. Some of us make it. Some of us don’t. Still, we continue to put up a fight. We continue to struggle and hope that we can win.
I know you are living a hard life. Most of us do. The finely-dressed and likeable man you see on TV telling you that he will lead you to greater heights while raising his clenched fist and shaking it wildly, he is not like you. He is not like us. He was afforded with all the chances you and I have to work for, handed to him on a silver platter. He was sent to prestigious schools. He was sent to universities we can only dream about and wish we had the chance to study in, but our parents could not afford such. He did not seize the opportunity to take advantage of the chance to earn a world-class education. No. He wasted it. He blew it. He squandered it. He chose to spend his time hanging out with the band and partying all night with his gang. A diploma – he does not need it anyway. He will still be the entitled rich boy without it. He will not starve. He will not have a hard time trying to find a job; his family will surely provide and ensure his employment. We wish it was the same for us too. We wish that we could have been afforded a shot at world-class education and the assurance of guaranteed employment. But no. We weren’t lucky enough. He is. We have to work for everything we have and for everything we need.
I know you are living a hard life. Most of us do. You struggle to earn enough to feed your family. You toil to help your younger siblings so they too can finish their schooling. You help your parents anyway you can. Some of us are even lucky that we have both parents struggling to provide for our needs. The others are not very fortunate and have to fend for themselves. You are overworked. You are underpaid. You live a hand-to-mouth existence; making both ends meet day after day, week after week, month after month. It’s hard. Sure. But you carry on. You persevere. The rewards may be small but the hard work is done in earnest. It’s an honest penny. We have to do the daily grind. This is our reality. Some of us make it. Some of us don’t. Still, we continue to put up a fight. We continue to struggle and hope that we can win.
I know you are living a hard life. Most of us do. The glorious and heroic-looking man you see on TV, promising you that he will make life better for us all with both his arms outstretched, palms facing upward, and his eyes looking high up to heaven, he is not like you. He is not like us. He has a job that was handed to him. He did not put in work to earn that position. He is privileged. He is entitled. He is always tardy. He is absent most of the time, and yet he still gets paid a hefty amount. We can’t do that. It will take a toll on our employment; we cannot afford to lose our jobs. He can. He can dodge responsibility and avoid accountability. He believes he can get away with a lot of things. His flowery words make him sound like he is knowledgeable but we can all see through that facade. He’s a farce. He’s a joke you can’t even laugh at. He’s a Pinocchio. He’s just a puppet who wants to be a real boy and he lies to you with a straight face. He talks like he values these things we hold dear but his actions speak otherwise. He underworks yet he is overpaid. He can laze around and yet he is able to amass wealth, more than what we can work for in our lifetimes. It’s an easy life. We wish it were the same for us too. We wish we had an easy life too. But no. We weren’t lucky enough. He is. We have to work for everything we have and for everything we need.
I know you are living a hard life. Most of us do. We are not the same people as that man we see on TV. We do not share the same beliefs. We do not share the same values. We have made better choices in this life than he ever did. Even with all the things he was afforded and all the things handed to him on a silver platter, he managed to blow it all up. He would not have fared better if he were one of us. Well, he is not one of us anyway. He never will be.
He does not value education, and yet he wants us to believe that he can usher in change. He cannot even understand our struggles, yet he wants to convince us to believe that he will take us to where we want to go and he has the solutions. He has not experienced the hardships that we all had to go through, yet he has the audacity to con us into putting him in power with the promise of a better life. He defecates on the values we hold dear, and yet he has the gall to tell us that he is capable enough to lead us to greater heights.
Should we choose someone to represent us and make choices for us, however, he himself cannot even make the right choices in his entitled and privileged life? Do we have the ability to choose not to put him in power and find someone who shares the same values as we do? Yes. We do. We all know the answer. Obviously. We are not stupid; none of us are but some of us just choose to be.
I know you are living a hard life. Most of us do. Poverty is not a hindrance in making the right choices. It never has been. It never will be. We should choose someone who, like us, also works for everything he/she has and for everything he/she needs. We should choose someone who shares the same dreams and the same realities as we do. We should choose someone who will always take our side as long as it is right, moral, and lawful. We should choose someone who understands and champions the values that we all hold sacred. Sadly, that someone is not that man we see on TV. He is not one of us. He never will be. He never wishes to be one of us either. He feels that we are beneath him. He is wrong about that. For the longest time, we have been deprived, lied to, and stolen from but we remain a proud and hardy race. We do not know when to quit. We are warriors. We always have been. We always will be. We all know that the future hinges on our choices. We have made right choices. We have made wrong choices. By now, we should have learned from them all. We know what to do.