The election season (at least most of it) is behind us and it was crazy and draining. This is the first time social media has played a huge role during the campaigns and I fear that the whole messiness was a mere preview of the years to come. Campaign seasons will become more and more toxic in the coming years. The empowerment that social media has brought will enable people to scream louder, not always with enough forethought to examine what they are screaming about. I am not looking forward to it.
I have taken refuge in the idea that the elections have helped me filter the people that I like and respect, and those that I don’t. My threshold isn’t even that high – as long as people don’t spread misinformation and don’t get personal, then you’re okay in my book. There are some people who I like and respect but have gone crazy with the campaigning that I couldn’t help but temporarily unfollow them, or at least “see less” from them. I know you love your candidate and Du30, Miriam, Mar, Poe, and (sighs) Binay, are probably inspiring if you pick out their best parts, but I don’t want to be bombarded with their faces all day. I see them everywhere enough as it is – on the walls, on trash bins, in fliers scattered across the roads and pavements, in banderitas, at the back of people’s cars – so please let me have this little slice of peace to myself. Know that I didn’t wish to unfollow you out of spite, but just out of a craving for serenity and quiet.
The elections have also sprung forth new pet peeves and deal breakers:
- If you rely on Mocha Uson, Adobo Chronicles, etc., as reliable sources and react so passionately about what they broadcast, then I don’t know how to understand you. I don’t even know where to begin.
- Wrapping your rudeness with poetic niceties doesn’t make you nice, it makes you annoying.
- Being passionate about governance and against corruption will not soften the criminal act of evading taxes.
- Conditional nationalism. Why should I pay taxes when it gets stolen anyway? Why should I throw garbage properly when it never gets collected on time? I will change but only when you change first!
The election season has also become a stage that people use as an excuse to justify their unkindness towards other people. People will take disgustingly low blows just to insult other people and their choices. Making fun of their natural physical features? Check. Making fun of their family? Sure. Can I also insult his or her child? Why not! There’s no low blow that is low enough. People will sacrifice a piece of their soul in hell just so they can hurt you where it matters.
People, including myself, have invested so much time and energy into social media elections brouhaha that we’ve lost sight of the fact that after the elections, we’ll be going back to our old, sad lives. Am I going back to a life I want? Did the whole thing made me like myself more? Is this the kind of person I want to be?
I honestly wish I did better during the campaigns myself – I wish I was more patient, I wish I knew better when to let go, and I wish I had the capacity and strength to see the goodness in others, that they are more than the sources they are reposting, the candidate they are supporting, and that they are more than the silly and hateful things that spew out of their keyboards.
It’s unbelievably hard to be a good person in these trying times, to be a Daredevil in a Punisher world, to be less judgmental, and to ignore people when they’re disseminating wrong information, or when they embrace conspiracy theories and reject the truth. Our guts tell us to reach out and yank them out of that darkness, to tell them the dangers of blind faith, to encourage them to have more trust in the process, and to think before they feel. We could all try, but sometimes it’s hard to find the line between trying to help and trying to impose your beliefs unto others. It’s hard to be fair and assertive without (eventually) becoming mean-spirited and disparaging. I don’t want to put myself in a pedestal, an elite who is the only source of what’s true and right. That’s not the kind of person I want to be.
I don’t know where to find that balance yet. I hope I do better next time.
P.S. Isn’t democracy amazing?