The social media claws are out for most of my friends. There is a rampage of unfollowing and unfriending on Facebook, Twitter, and probably even Instagram. My group chats and breakfast conversations are filled with political commentaries. And all this is because of the upcoming May 9 Philippine elections. Is there going be a real life Civil War for us all by next month? Social media is already a war zone as we speak.
Now that I am done with most of my writing tasks, I am scouring Youtube for the link to the last PiliPinas Debates 2016 hosted by ABS-CBN. I watched all religiously except for this last debate due to some unavoidable babysitting duties. It was a highly controversial debate because of the issues tackled and because some groups mentioned that there was bias in the coverage of the debate in favor of Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas. I have yet to watch the debate to see for myself.
I already made a decision to keep my voting choices private, as private as my underwear. I refused to verbally join the mayhem because everyone thinks he or she is right and the others are wrong. We all have our unique reasons for choosing the candidates we are going to vote for. When you see someone hellbent on endorsing a candidate that you don’t like, it’s hard to convince them otherwise. I do admire those who are able to speak up bravely about their political choices. It is necessary to campaign for our choices. But we don’t have to hurt each other and accumulate enemies needlessly as we do so. There is too much online vitriol already over who’s right. That makes me thankful that I no longer have my public Facebook account. Just that, the approach most people take does not really do anything other than widen the chasm of hate that’s permeated the social media channels.
Instead of posting, I read and consume all the posts I can get my hands on for each candidate. I spent my free time researching the platforms and track record of the candidates I am seriously considering. I read people’s social media accounts and news articles, although I have noticed that some publications are horribly biased in spite of the journalistic requirements of objectivity. I take a long and hard look at the working class where I belong. I remember what a friend told me recently about my voting decision: “You should be loyal to your own class.” I totally agree with him. I am going to think of the working people like me when I make my choice.
Whatever the outcome next month, I am truly hoping that the country can bounce back from all this active online hate and toxicity.