Elections as means for change

by Manuel B. Quintal, Esq.

| Photo courtesy of greanvillepost.com

There is nothing permanent except change. It is the perpetual characteristic of everything.

Of everything, within and without us.
The change may be so radical, even violent, and extensive that it is so apparent. Or, it may be so little, insignificant, and so slow that it is hardly noticeable. Whether the change is significant or not, it is natural. It is a necessary occurrence for survival.

The U.S. Declaration of Independence was a result of a need for change. It declares that if a government no longer serves the purpose for which it was formed, the people can replace it. The government derives its “just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Of course, these terms refer to the aspiration of a group of people desiring to form a country of their own to pursue their path. Not so much about the change of one government (or set of government officials) for another.

“Under our democratic representative government, our laws provide for a peaceful mechanism for change, replace government or government officials who no longer serve the purpose(s) for which the people elected it for them. We call that mechanism “elections.”

Under our democratic representative government, our laws provide for a peaceful mechanism for change, replace government or government officials who no longer serve the purpose(s) for which the people elected it for them. We call that mechanism “elections.” In countries that have become bastions of freedom, like the United States, that elections have generally been free and peaceful, the results accepted as the expression of the popular will, and transitions to a new government occur as the laws provide.

Every candidate in the coming presidential election, including candidates for senators, advocates government policies and approaches to solve present-day problems. Not that the current state of affairs is undesirable. Instead, the present state of affairs is not acceptable anymore, and change(s) must respond to the times’ demands. There is a need to improve: the candidates and the political parties need to advocate change because the electorate wants changes for improvement. We want changes in health care, foreign wars and disputes, immigration policies, economic policies, climate change, educational system, the judicial system, and tax policies. We want changes in how we deal with groups that seek to destroy our democratic way of life.

“There is a need to improve: the candidates and the political parties need to advocate change because the electorate wants changes for improvement.”

Aliens who have no legal status in the United States want to change immigration laws. I talk to aliens who have long dreamed of living in the United States as lawful permanent residents or American citizens. All of them are hoping for changes that will give them that opportunity. We know daily wage earners seeking better conditions of employment. We know of people who desire health insurance. Maybe, many of them are our relatives, and the realization of their hopes and dreams depends on us.

On our votes.
Under our system of government, the president does not make laws. The election of a president who may be considered pro-immigration, pro-labor, or others, does not guarantee the passage of favorable regulations. Congress, as most of us know, makes the laws. However, the president is the commander of the ship of state and decides where the boat should go. The president initiates the government’s programs, and with the cooperation of Congress, the boat goes where he wants it to go. The president is a part of a crew that we have to elect to determine which direction the country will go.

“How we vote is determined, though not entirely, by what changes we want. Who we vote for should be dictated by who we believe will bring about the changes we want.”

How we vote is determined, though not entirely, by what changes we want. Who we vote for should be dictated by who we believe will bring about the changes we want. The Filipino American electorate may not be such a large group compared to other groups, but it positively can affect the outcome of the elections.

The country moves forward (or backward) depends on us on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Manuel B. Quintal, ESQ., practices law in New York since 1989. He is active in the community as a member, an officer or a legal adviser of various professional, business, and not-for-profit organizations. He was a columnist of Newstar Philippines, an English language weekly newspaper published in New York, from 2006-2009. He was Executive Editor of International Tribune, an English language weekly newspaper for the Asian community, based in New York, from 2010 to 2012. He is admitted to practice law in the Philippines and New York State. He has graduate degrees in Political Science and an LL.M. major in International Law.

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