“How do you tell people to vote wisely?”
The campaign got underway. As promised, it was a damn circus, clowns were let loose, entertaining the crowds wherever they went. They did not have painted faces nor wore loose suits, not even funny at all. They were simply themselves, trying to convince everyone how serious they were at public service. And that was the funny thing,
“I want to t know the answer to that, too.” the vegetable farmer remarked, depressed with the news going around, a week before election day.
“People tell me that you’ll lose,” I told him pointblank.
“It’s not a fair fight,” he bemoaned. “They have all the resources, him being incumbent and all. His group scattered themselves and did all the tricks by the book.”
“I know that beforehand,” I admitted, sore at how people could be so naive. “I just thought we should know better.”
“I can’t blame them. I could not give them something.”
“Is this all about money?” I asked rhetorically. “You should not have run for office in the first place.”
He bowed his head in defeat.
“So, next week, it will be just for show, a futile exercise?” I could not contain my irritation. My vote, along with the minority, would be recorded to stamp the process as official and legal. “Perhaps, I should stay at home and watch funny movies.”
He was not in the mood to laugh. Neither did I. But I still tried to lighten his sagging spirits.
“I did my best. But people think I am a thief and a liar.”
“Are you?” I wanted to hear his explanation.
“There was an incident when I was young. I learned my lesson and I changed.”
In politics, there will always be the lesser evil. Protagonists try to paint themselves as not perfect individuals, with flaws, human. But then, they could stoop so low to call their opponents unworthy of trust, citing situations that happened long, long ago. Some even use technicalities to try to disqualify the obstacle to their victory.
“Why didn’t you tell your side earlier?” I shook my head, unhappy for his foul up. “If you came out clean, you could still sway the undecideds.”
“I didn’t think that mattered at all,” he reasoned. “People should see me now and not as before.”
“Well, the damage was done,” I summed up. “Even if you call your opponent a thief and a liar now, which some of us thinks he is, people would not believe you unless you have evidence to prove your accusation.”
“He had done nothing for the village. He has enriched himself and will continue doing so once he’s reelected.”
“What we need is some kind of a coup de grace!” I thought out loud.
I didn’t know what came over me but I broke out laughing hard.
“What’s so funny?” he asked, recalling anything hilarious from the discussion.
“Well, it’s either you or him, right?” I pointed out.
He waited for the proposition.
“What if we let the word out. Choose! You, the former thief against him, the current one!”
“That sounds not right!” he complained, a bit aggrieved about the truth.
“Do you have another better idea?”