2/26/2019
Blame the yellows for everything that's wrong

Okay. In this case I did have something in my head that I want to write down, but it's about politics, and, believe it or not, I don't feel like writing about politics anymore.

Is it because thinking about politics, especially at this point in time, has gotten really tiring? Perhaps. But I'm not the guy who's promote escapism. I mean, I'm the guy who riles against excessive positivity everywhere, against how it minimizes, if not denies the existence, of any other emotion, about how you can't be sad, or angry, because all it takes is to be grateful, that kind of shit. Yes, thinking about politics has gotten really tiring, but then it's the sort of thing you still cannot escape, if only because you follow people who can't stop talking about it.

I don't like to be put in an echo chamber, so I have made it a point to not unfollow or unfriend people because of what they believe. Sure, there's this whole "their political beliefs reflect who they are as a person" bit, a nugget of supposed wisdom that applies both to the Philippine and American settings - and I say this because my American contacts post this more often. But already we know that part of the problem lies in how the algorithms that define our lives, for better or worse, tend to only show us the things it thinks will appeal to us. So, in my case, there's that set of contacts (let's not call them friends) who fashion themselves to be critical enough of the current president. Maybe I'll like it because I've been critical of the current president, it assumes.

!But then I've also been critical of the past president, so I get on my feeds a couple of elementary school classmates who gleefully post anything that's anti-past president, even if it's clearly fake news. You know, the "blame the yellows for everything wrong with this country" mindset, perpetrating both historical revisionism and short attention spans. I've only engaged with them once: when someone asserted that FTI, a Marcos-era food distribution hub, being sold off under Noynoy's time was proof that the president was bent on undoing anything the "greatest president of all time" ever did, I ended up explaining that it's really market forces and customer demand at work. I don't think I changed anybody's mind.

And then there are my relatives who also share such posts. Including my parents, sadly. (I still feel betrayed by that, because... how desperate do you have to be to support someone who will minimize my chances for a good future?) It's so pervasive that one of Shalla's co-workers, who happens to live in the same neighborhood as one of my cousins - the stupid, very pro-Duterte, "respect my opinions but fuck yours" one - assumed I'm also an adoring fan of this president solely because we share a last name.

On the other extreme, there's this guy who's so pathetically pro-Aquino he posts nothing but talking points from the admittedly ineffective opposition. Believe it or not, I considered breaking my "don't unfriend anybody" pledge because he's gotten so annoying.

So, one's political beliefs reflect who they are as a person? Sure. But, also, how they talk about it reflects who they are as a person. And not to exclude myself here, because I'm definitely guilty of this, but we're really talking about politics not because we're concerned about the direction we as a society are taking, but because we really just want to seem like we're on the right side of history. Being the winner of something will always have this visceral appeal. That also explains politics, really; the politics of taking credit for everything that's good, and the politics of blaming any and every convenient scapegoat for everything that's bad. Corruption in government? It's not Duterte's fault - he clearly is against it. I mean, he had this road built! It's the fault of the yellows, of the motherfuckers at Rappler, of the Americans, of the Catholic Church...

I haven't written about politics much partly because it's tiring, but mostly because I don't really have anything else to articulate to myself anymore. All we've seen the past few years, and before that, is an elaborate exercise in winning adoration through whatever means possible. I could articulate that further, because that's where my thoughts always go lately, but to be frank, I don't have time for that anymore. Considering all that, I have said more than I set out to do.

And your responses...

Post a Comment