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?