Dirty Fingers

The youth has become a legitimate and lucrative market in the business of elections. Civic consciousness has proliferated in the media as the fad during the pre-campaign season. Register, be cool. Vote, be hip. Wear nifty combinations of red, white, blue and yellow. Make sure that finger is dirty on May 2010, otherwise, you're out.

Despite cynicism against advertising's taking advantage of youth idealism, it cannot be denied that actual advocacies for social change are in fact pushed for. It could be that media and business interests are taking advantage of the long frustrated clamor for change, but then again, how wasteful it would be for willing agents of change to not take advantage of such longing for actualization now that it is so en vogue!

Enormous measures are needed in order to invigorate dormant potentials within us as a society. More importantly, it is interesting to ask how large and impactful the role of the youth now to the country's future is, as advertisements claim. Concerts, statement shirts and celebrity endorsements are wicks to soft-spoken dynamites, for sure. But are they futile? In their defense, I don't think so.

For a sector with a characteristically short attention span - and yes, that's us - it is important to get noticed. This means colors, slogans, and sometimes, even Chris Tiu. Advertisements have their own interests, but these do not necessarily contradict with those who envision true change actualized in our society. What fads and fashion do is to invite consumption. It is our role as responsible citizens and social scientists to be critical in order to avoid falling prey to commodification without abandoning the advocacy altogether.

If anything, if business and media interests didn't take advantage of the hype for change, people outside the academe and the elite would least likely care for the grandeur scheme of things unless is didn't affect them directly. A problem cannot be solved it it, to me, did not exist.

We are easily swayed by advocacies forwarded by those in the limelight - whether by celebrities or politicians, not that there is such a clear difference - but it is our responsibility to inform shallow and superficial projects, instead of dismissing them entirely. Without the folk, the common , and sometimes, the manufactured perspectives on the issue, no discourse could be (further) developed.

As young social scientists, we are and must be critical for fear of falling prey to interests, but we must not let out cynicism debunk everything at the expense of action.

So as your fingers become stained with indelible ink come 2010, think again as to whether it was Montesquieu or KC Conception who convinced you more to fulfill your civic duties. Or as least those up until Election Day. Both advertisers and thinkers have a tendency to be nearsighted, anyway. We can have an indigestible political rhetoric, and/or manufactured ideals, but in the end, only we, with the duty of being responsible members of an actual society, can determine our place in history. ▪