On The Death of Tolerance & Respect

In my earlier post I talked about how social media has become a very toxic environment in the wake of the election season. In this post, I’d like to further elaborate on my sentiments about this issue and bring out more points of discussion.

Let me begin by saying that I’m sick. I’m sick, tired and completely jaded. Facebook used to seem like a less hostile place but now it has become a war zone in itself, and a place filled with sentiments from people you’d never expect to have those kind of sentiments. Some experiences have scared me, and changed my perception about the people I’ve chosen to friend but I choose not to unfriend them– disturbing as their stances may be as compared to my own. Elections aside these people are still my acquaintances, and have done nothing besides express their opinions.. just as I am doing as I type this post right now.

But it has not been easy to sit back and practice tolerance and respect, most especially online. I’m sorry but I must mention one candidate in particular here: Duterte (read earlier post to see sentiments on this guy) I have no choice. Based on the experience I have had on my timeline, besides Mar, Duterte supporters are the only group that seem to be singled out when it comes to election propaganda. Never have we heard the same for the supporters of Poe, Miriam or Binay. (or have we?)

I have come to believe that there exists a rational group of people who have chosen Duterte for a valid, civil reason– one that they can probably explain without the need for insulting language and harsh remarks (a possible one: this government sucked, sucks and I need  real change). But the problem is, rational Duterte fans aside there exists the rabid Duterte fans. Those that have come under fire for threatening rape and murder upon those who dare to speak against the Davao mayor, and that is obviously NOT OKAY.

They are, unfortunately, the most visible example of how rabid fans turned netizens display no level of respect or tolerance toward the supporters of other candidates. These are the people who practice the ‘you’re-stupid/wrong-coz-u-don’t-support-my-candidate’ mentality. Am I saying they’re the only ones? Nope. Am I saying that they’re the loudest? Yep. Unfortunately for Mayor Duterte (or not).

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again for the sake of those who don’t know how to read properly: they’re NOT the only rabid supporters out there. Duterte’s front runner status has made him the prime target of not just netizens but local news networks whose visible bias against the mayor is questionable. Memes and images exist of the prolific mayor as well, and he has been the subject of many a status message because of his remarks towards women (some of whom I’d like to agree were valid points raised against him by some very civil people, mind you).

Yet at the end of the day this isn’t about the candidates. This is about the voters– this is about the people.

Why is it so hard to say ‘okay’ when someone prefers a candidate other than your own? Why is it so hard to not express disgust or disdain upon the person of your friend because of their presidential preference? Isn’t this ‘freedom’ the whole point of democracy? Free, open, inclusive and non-discriminatory conversation about our country’s future sure doesn’t seem like a bad idea– then why don’t we give it a try?

Forget the insults– forget ‘dutetard’ or ‘martard’ or whatever nickname exists out there and talk like civil human beings. Engage social media like civil human beings. Is it really THAT hard to resist a brash display of bravado in the name of shear spite or pride?

Probably not.

 

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Candid8, Candih8: VP Edition

(It’s only fair to get this done. Chz.)  BIAS WARNING.

Alan Peter Cayetano

Thoughts: You used to seem like one of the more reasonable legislators until you decided it was okay to say that six months was enough to suppress crime. You’re brave and consistent and those are genuine plusses. But… naaaaaaah.

Prescribed course of action: Skip the tandem game and stand on your own two feet. 

Bongbong Marcos

Thoughts: Can one really fault detractors of this guy when he shares so much physical similarities with his father? Pangalan palang, mata palang–nandyan na lahat. Listen to the video that proclaims Martial Law and listen to him speak in the VP Debates. Feel chills up your spine. Remember though.. to detach, because it is true that the son is not the father. But the son is part of the family.

And the family is behind ill gotten wealth– and lost lives– and torture methods that would come to scar and traumatize thousands of families. And that alone is cause for apology. Unfortunately for us, despite his education Bong doesn’t seem to realize that– and chooses to remain a remorseful, unapologetic prick.

But Martial Law aside, what has Bongbong even done in the senate besides the BBL? Does he have laws passed or filed that will make a true dent on the ills of this country? Well, if such exists then where is the proof of his productivity? Why isn’t he  trumpeting that instead?

You’re a lucky fool as it seems as though your daddy’s bffs in the sects of the Philippines might just win you the Vice Presidency. And the world will see. And the world will remember us as the most forgiving country. The one that decided.. yeah it’s okay to wait 20 years: let’s elect the kid of that same guy who declared Martial Law and screwed the country up for a few years.

Oh well, notebook papel.

Prescribed course of action: It may be too late, but say some ‘sorries’ and things may change for you. 

Gringo Honasan

Thoughts: The soldier turned senator turned VP wannabe. It seems as though he hasn’t made much of a dent in the VP race. Hmm. Hmm. Hmmmmm.

Prescribed course of action: Somebody tell me what he’s been up to!

Chiz Escudero

Thoughts: Robot voice aside, this guy used to lead the vice presidential race. He hasn’t been a social media whipping boy but has been hounded with his share of controversy in the campaign period. I trusted him as an up and coming senator but feel as though he hasn’t quite convinced me so I’m iffy.

Although he seems to do the tandem bit a bit better than Cayetano, I’ll give him that.

Prescribed course of action: Voice coach!!! (CHZ.)

Leni Robredo

Thoughts: Grace and Leni are similar in the sense that they both do not have the taint of public office on their hands. They are neophytes, yes, and they bring to the government a mindset free from the jaded-ness of problematic political systems. I apologize deeply to Leni fans, as I horribly underestimated her (believing her to be a bit reminiscent of Cory). But it turns out I was wrong, and I couldn’t be prouder to call this woman my candidate for VP.

It’s pretty noticeable in the media how other candidates seem to have more mud than usual to throw at each other, but such is not the case for Leni, as her biggest ‘taint’ is her choice to run under LP. Savage social media users dare to post photos that decry Robredo’s alleged high election commercial spending. But this is the same woman who doesn’t drive but commutes home on a bus like everyone of us. Suck on that, internet trolls.

Prescribed course of action: Vote for this woman. 

Antonio Trillianes

Thoughts: Whatever happened to the Bad Boy of Oakwood? Well, he spent time in jail, became a senator, and chose to pull the most desperate pre-election moves in recent history. It’s hard not to see his actions as such because of the timing and his placement in the surveys. Productivity wise though, Trillianes has done substantial work as a legislator, and, if he chose to keep his head down for a few more years, could probably try for the big leagues again. For now he seems to be better placed in the legislative branch.

Prescribed course of action: Keep at your senatorial work pls. 

 

CandiD8, CandiH8 aka the Post that Might Get Me Death Threats

(Still on it AKA continuing series on election related commentary)
For this post, I’m putting on a brave face and doing a per candidate verdict section– based on everything from controversial news to debate performance to shear personal preference.
CAUTION: BIAS AHEAD. 
Jejomar Binay
Thoughts: There’s nothing worse than a politician accused of corruption. There’s nothing much worse than a politician who refuses to deny nor admit to corruption. What’s the worst? A politician loud and proud of one of this government’s biggest social ills: the political dynasty.
Let’s not make this about his skin color or his daughter– I am no fan of Jejomar Binay and his politicking. I may not be a big fan of this administration but to see how he summarily resigned from his position in the cabinet and began to play the blame game on the administration he HAPPENS to be a part of just seems so… ludicrous. He doesn’t even bother mentioning what he has done during his term as vice president and seems to think that the logic of ‘if-i-can-do-this-in-a-small-city-i-can-do-it-for-a-million-other-people’ makes perfect sense.
Well guess what? It doesn’t.
Prescribed course of action: Honesty is the best policy.
Rodrigo Duterte
Thoughts: Here’s another big fan of the ‘if-i-can-do-this-in-a-small-city-i-can-do-it-for-a-million-other-people,’ logic, among other things.
I won’t mince words here. At first I actually saw you as a beacon of hope, Mayor– especially in the early stages of the race when it seemed like you would actually run. And then you said you didn’t… and then you said you would.. and then you didn’t reach the COC deadline. And then.. you ran. The rest, they say, is history.
Duterte supporters can say all they want about the media bias faced by this front runner but even they have to admit that he’s no angel– even he’ll say that I’m sure. But what he doesn’t seem to get is how when you’re a public figure words mean something. Words are actions and he seems to only have the worst kind of words coming out of his mouth.
His upbringing is no excuse for such behavior, nor are his audacious promises and tendency to flip flop. Let’s sit back and recall the last time a politician flip flopped on a publicly made promise– oh yeah. Remember GMA? Remember when she said she wasn’t gonna run but did… and won?
Unless things change and dayaan (or the grace of an unknown higher being) prevails I’m at that point where I’ve come to.. albeit begrudgingly, accept a Duterte presidency. I’m not willing to set aside his words from the campaign season but I will… out of my love for this country… give this man the benefit of the doubt. Think about this, though: Cayetano says that ‘best practices’ are but a google search away. But what’s the point of standing in front of a broken faucet, google search solution in hand, without the resources to make change possible? What’s the point when external issues make things impossible? The true leader knows not just what should be done but knows how to adapt in case things don’t work out. In case external circumstances make things impossible for the solution to become a reality. Is Duterte this kind of leader?
Prescribed course of action: You better not screw up—for the sake of all of us.

Grace Poe
Thoughts: Neophyte, underdog, surprise top notch senator—you almost had me, Grace, you almost did. Your research impressed me, your irrational battle with citizenship based legitimacy endeared me…. I was this close to forgetting that you haven’t been in public office for long.
But now I don’t know anymore. You’ve said things… you’ve succumbed to things I’m not for and I’m not quite sure about you just yet*sighs*. But one thing I’ll keep about you, Grace, is that we need people like you in office. People not tainted by a political last name and a corrupt upbringing. But your feet is barely wet and now you’re heading for the ocean? Are you sure?

Prescribed course of action: Build your way up, do your job, and things will change in 2022.

Mar Roxas
Thoughts: In another life… if you weren’t in LP….. if Cory didn’t die and you didn’t give way for Noynooyyy……
I feel like life would not have been this hard for Mr. Roxas had he not chosen to be part of LP, because it’s not like he hasn’t done anything during his time in government—especially for someone whose entrance into public office was born not out of willingness but of circumstance.
My timeline is filled with individuals who support both Roxas and Robredo but I cannot bring myself to support Roxas because of the time he has spent being accepting of what are glaring administrative errors. Had he chosen to promise correcting the mistakes of the past at an earlier time maybe things would change. Had he chosen to distance himself from issues and accepted his mistakes maybe things would have been different. Pero wala eh. But one cannot help but pity Mar. With the weight of blame he receives for the most audacious of administration mistakes he would probably have been dead by now. I’m supposing he probably doesn’t log on to social media because almost ¾ of the posts online seem to enjoy bashing him. Let’s be honest. He probably won’t win but at the end of the day behind the yellow shirt and the gwapo son is a human being—one, I hope should be spared of the cyberbullying once the election fire dies down.
Prescribed course of action: Serve, serve, serve & let the people know about it. Nicely. Also, stop the admin whipping boy task you’ve given up enough for Noynoy.
Miriam Defensor Santiago
Thoughts: The KWEEN with her coif! I’m not afraid to say that she’s got my vote, and I believe there are enough reasons why. This woman possesses the intellect of all these foreign educated candidates and the tapang of Duterte—so why isn’t she leading? Why has she become the last choice?
One word: cancer.
It’s a crippling hindrance and a horrible excuse to place in front of a woman whose experience and capabilities paint her as the perfect individual to reign in a problematic nation. In another life, this woman wouldn’t be sick. Perhaps in one of the feasible worlds God made she would even be president (NAAAAKS USING DAT PHILO 103). But we have our world and this is the Miriam we get.
The biggest mistake she made during this campaign period was choosing Bongbong as a running mate—this, from the woman who claims to be the candidate of the youth. But then, there’s the part of the youth painfully aware of Martial Law, and then, there’s the other half, the one that seems to think it okay to forget the mistakes of the past.
Least we can do is put her where she belongs—the presidency.
Prescribed course of action: Take your meds, beh. Disown Bongbong. And V O T E for her!

Journalism on Trial: On Social Media and the Comment Section

(Continuing series on election related commentary) 

 Social Media Savagery 

As if social media hasn’t been toxic enough for us, the brouhaha of election season has turned it into what can only be described as a battlefield of bravado. People hide behind their screen names and obscure Facebook pages and their senseless pseudonyms in the comment sections of publications both local and abroad, and dare to post the most audacious election propaganda. Everything from rape accusations to doctored photographs to source-free quotations have made their way through social media, and, as elections draw near, they have begun to get worse. Most of these allegations have actually been proven false by counter posts, but, some are actually quite true and have had their share of repercussions for certain candidates.

But that isn’t even the worst of it. On the bright side, social media has shown us that we can be a politically aware nation. That we have things to say and that we’re open to demanding what our leaders should be giving us. We know what’s wrong, we know what we want, and we’re not afraid to say so. (NOTE: Whether you like it or not we have post Martial Law to thank for this).

Social media has become a venue to educate people– on Martial Law, on senatorial candidates, and on the things we probably should look out for come election day.

On the dark side, social media has shown us that people can be extremely close minded. That what’s wrong can be right when done by the right candidate. That if you don’t agree with someone, they’re automatically wrong. That it’s okay to wish someone get killed, or raped, or murdered because they bravely voiced out opposition to your chosen candidate.

Respect has become but a pipe dream in the toxic world of Facebook, and there’s no one else to blame but ourselves.

Verdict: 

At this moment, we are at a stage of uncertainty. Although surveys may seem to predict our president and VP, the elections haven’t happened yet– so we never really know. But what really scares me is how things will be after the elections.

Will broken friendships be repaired? will news sites not be filled with the most rabid internet trolls anymore? Will we even have this freedom post election season? It’s both a nerve wracking and a somewhat exciting prospect– perhaps there’s nothing left to do but hope for the best.

 

Judging Journ

Things were not this rabid six years ago. Nor were journalists being judged this much. But, there it goes. Social media strikes again and the internet is filled with ‘netizens’ that have come to chastise the country’s most experienced broadcasters for what can only be described as conspiracy theories (not saying this for ABS as a network, though).

Nicole Curato and Patricia Evangelista, two of Rappler’s best authored a series of profiles on the presidential candidates which were met with nothing but judgement, trolling and threats made out of shear bravado. But unlike other networks, these writers dealt in fact and did not even skew their work. I have to admit that I can’t say the same for other networks, though.

Verdict:

Maybe it’s good or maybe it’s bad for the journalistic profession, but one thing is for sure: the elections have had an impact on the way people view their news networks and the people behind these groups. My question is: now lang?

It’s sad how we aren’t like that on regular days. How our rabid fanaticism, and our critical eyes are only reserved for episodes of cognitive dissonance. This is closely intertwined with the previous issue, as some journalists and networks as a whole have received a myriad of  threats in the previous weeks. (Needless to say, they’ve had some snarky replies. Check Facebook for some of the best examples).

Because a Say is a Say no matter what you Say

In previous posts preceding the elections, I’ve talked about the need to educate fellow voters and to go out and exercise democratic rights. Well, guess what? that time has finally come. It used to be months away, but elections are now less than a week away. And needless to say, the political landscape is at its messiest.

Social media has become a toxic place filled with accusations of professional news networks showing visible bias toward certain candidates, sloppily made ‘graphics’ about audacious allegations, and endless threads of disappointed individuals voicing out their extreme pessimism about the election race as a whole. People have actually ended friendships and had fights over their beliefs and become more opinionated than they have ever been online.

I’m at that point where I’m nothing but sick of what I see on the internet, as it seems like the elections has turned a lot of people into the worst versions of themselves all in the quest of expressing an extreme level of support for their chosen candidate. Is it really THAT hard to accept dissenting opinions? Must we really resort to belittling those whose thoughts are contrary to ours?

I have to admit that I’ve developed a deeper connection with this particular election because it will be my first one as a registered voter, and needless to say the bullshit has not helped my decision at all. Let this serve as an introductory entry to a series of posts meant to assess and opinionate on how this race has gone so far. From COMELEC hos and woes to candidate centric issue posts, join me (as I have time hahaha) to get talking.