Social media threw stones, and he caved.
Batocabe retreats on vanity tax proposal: … https://t.co/8HB5nJm5bV
— Aksyon TV (@AksyonTV) January 16, 2017
I apologize. That line was just too good to resist. But it is not entirely fair as it implies that the legislator in question lost some sort of fight. I don’t see it that way. When all is said and done, the #VanityTax was a proposal, nothing more. It was raised, rejected, and withdrawn. Nothing could be more democratic than that.
So, rather than keep on running this proposal – and its proponent – to the ground with flak (as I have seen some netizens gleefully do), why don’t we just let it go, and focus on the reasons why this is such a good development.
First, because, yeah #DontTaxMyBeauty.
Second, because it shows that some elected officials, at least, do pay attention to what citizens have to say. I’m not a hundred percent sure the legislator in this case didn’t just pull his bill out for selfish reasons, but the mere fact that the push-back achieved the desired effect is reason enough to chalk this up as a win.
And third, because this is more proof that social engagement can be used for positive ends, and not just as a platform for hyper-partisanship; that netizens can get their acts together, to remind elected officials that they are representatives of the people, not sovereigns in their own right.
This outcome is exactly what all voter education hopes to achieve. An educated citizenry, well-informed of current developments in the political sphere, capable of critical and independent thinking, actively engaged (hopefully as voters currently or eventually), AND a political class that does not ignore the electorate after the elections.
Plaudits all around, then: To the legislator who listened; and to the netizens who demonstrated the ability of the keyboard to meaningfully contribute to the national conversation.