Saturday, April 14, 2007

Appeal to conscience... from YOUNGBLOOD of INQUIRER.net

YOUNGBLOOD
Appeal to conscience
By Reinna Maraya I. Bien
Inquirer
Last updated 01:25am (Mla time) 04/14/2007

This letter is addressed to celebrities running for public office:

What are you doing? Ego and lust for power aside, do you honestly believe you can significantly contribute to the well-being of the country? I mean, really?

If you want to help the poor, then start a non-governmental organization that will help them help themselves. Don't let them forever bank on the screen hero's promise of salvation.

You say you want to improve the condition of the Philippine film industry? Then make good movies, don't run for Senate.

Your heart feels for the Filipino sportsmen? Then impart your knowledge and skills to kids who have great athletic potential. Don't attempt to write laws when you don't even have a high-school diploma under your belt.

I'm sure somebody has said this to you before, but in case you weren't listening, let me repeat it: You don't have to be a congressman or a senator to accomplish all those things you claim as your reasons for running. Consider Bono, the lead singer of U2 and humanitarian extraordinaire. Over the years, the Irishman, who was recently knighted, successfully spearheaded a movement that erased the debts of some of the world's poorest countries. He has campaigned against world poverty, promoted fair trade, raised money for victims of hurricane "Katrina." He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twice. And he has accomplished all these without holding public office. Why can't you be smart enough to follow his example?

Let me clarify that I didn't write this to belittle actors in general. I know there are those who took great lengths to prepare themselves before running for office (and by prepare I don't mean memorizing the "If you vote for me…" speech your assistant made for you, but actually studying and familiarizing yourself with at least the basics of public office). This open letter is an appeal to the conscience of celebrities running for high positions in the government who have no experience in public office or knowledge of the basics of legislation or public administration. Yes, you may have the purest of intentions, but be wise enough to realize that sometimes the desire to do something good isn't enough; you have to back it up with experience and solid knowledge, too.

I know that we are in charge of making our own destiny, but we can't escape the fact that the laws and policies our leaders make have a significant effect on our future. And as much as I admire your movies and respect your achievements as athletes, I do not want you running my country and my future for me.

P.S. I don't know if you came to the decision to run for office on your own or if you had people making the decision for you, but it's not yet too late to back out.

Reinna Maraya I. Bien, 23, is a writer for a PR agency.



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