Last election is probably the most divisive and toxic so far. It was that intense that I, someone who is not so much involved in politics before, found myself eroded by the campaign. I had sleepless nights because of anxiousness and research. I heard of friends unfriending and unfollowing each other in social media. My officemate told us he decided to unfollow her mother who is a rabid supporter of a certain candidate (but hopefully he is now friends in FB with his mom again). So much hate and negativity spread like wildfire, we became too consumed and fiery. I had my fair share of not so healthy debates with my own father and I tell you, debating with my father is like stating your case to a robot. He is programmed to think he alone is correct and would counter every argument you had with all his might. You never win. A cousin who is also a fervent supporter of one candidate would post irritating statements against a candidate I support that I was at the brink of replying to her posts. It took much, much pause and prayer. The struggle is real. I have somehow mastered the art of choosing your own battles. And to put relationships first.
One thing I realized though, through all these word war and circus-like politics is not so much to persuade other people to like your candidate or be against one, but to guard your own heart. Letting go of things that rob us of peace. Letting go of matters we have minimal control. Different people will always have differing preferences and opinions and that is the result of his environment, his upbringing, and the things he allowed himself to focus on. May kanya kanya tayong pinaglalaban dahil may kanya kanya tayong pinagdaanan. I maintained an open mind during the election campaign and I tried my best to understand people with different views. I discovered it is sometimes because we are too zealous to support the person that we are too blinded to see his weaknesses and all. That we rationalize his actions although we knew in the depths of our heart he might be really wrong in this area. No one is flawless, anyway. It can also go the other way. We are sometimes too occupied by the thought of hating a certain personality that his efforts, though laudable and impressive, may seem too “epal” or worthless to us. It really depends on what we focus on.
We live in a broken world. The enemy will always cause confusion and division. Personally, I refrain from posting statements that would further cement animosity. The least I can do for my country is to contribute to unity and nation-building. Respect opinions. Follow new rules and laws. Submit to authorities. Voice out constructive criticisms directly to persons concerned. Facebook posts can’t do so much. Take action. Refrain from sharing unverified news and fake information. And most importantly, throw your garbage in the garbage bag. (Emphasis on this because it is my pet peeve :D ) If there is no garbage bag available, put it in your pocket or bag until you see one.
We all want a better country. Progress is a collective effort. Let’s do our share. :)