Political Poles



Two old friends meet again on social media. They exchange stands on whom to support for president. It so happened that these two Bicolanos are betting on different candidates. Friend A supports the Bicolano presidential candidate. Friend B supports a different candidate. (Someone told me whom he’s supporting, but I didn’t hear it quite very well.) Friend B questions Friend A’s stand on the grounds that Bicolanos should support the Bicolano candidate. Friend B reportedly insisted that Friend A should be ashamed for campaigning for a non-Bicolano candidate. Friend A responded that being Bicolano does not automatically mean that he should support any Bicolano candidate. He added that he respects the Bicolano candidate, and that he deserves to be respected for his personal views. (If these two were on a physical space, a brawl could have ensued.) Eventually, the confrontation on the comments section concluded; with Friend A keeping his cool and Friend B grinding his teeth and staring with stabs.


Okay, show’s over. Let’s all go home. Drama has died down, or so we thought. In the effect of the encounter, Friend B blocked not only Friend A’s social media contact, but also that of Friend A’s wife, thereby virtually severing ties with them. Friend A’s wife ventilated her shock in what the couple thought was a gentlemanly conference of convictions, but led to “unfriendship”. Friends C to Z quickly pitched in their comments to lighten the mood. I also joined in further down the comments list with something like, “we could organize a virtual get-together”, with myself being oblivious to what started it all.


In an interview by Pinky Webb with representatives of the candidates for president, one representative parted with a shout out to the Bisaya from Mindanao and Visayas because his candidate hails from Mindanao. Another representative responded with the genealogy of his candidate who grew up in the Manila slums but whose parents are Bisaya from Antique and Leyte. Although he did not have any representative in that particular episode, one candidate may have bragged about the so-called solid north. These arguments seem to stem from the perception or principle that Filipinos should rally behind the champions that represent their hometown. What does this make of the political process? A basketball tournament from different universities with their own cheerers rooting for them because they go to the same school? After all, before this nation had a singular name and identity, inhabitants of this land, fought amongst each other in support of their own barangays. So maybe, some of that pre-colonial allegiance still runs true to this millennium.


Is not the practice of elections simply choosing a favoured aspirant for leadership? In its basic forms, constituents could simply raise hands to signify their vote, have them counted, declare a winner, and go on with one’s business. But in the development of democracy, passions tend to run high that voters could get at each other’s throats to win over the other camp/s and/or prove that one cause is the one true benevolent foundation; and all else are evil. But on the other hand, perhaps, it is only logically human to be passionate for a particular cause. If people were not as fervent as fire for what they deem faithful, then would we not be uncaring, insensitive individuals who merely cast votes for the sake of duty, who are unmindful of the future? Are not these ardent emotions only infer of people’s genuine longing for what is virtuous for this nation?


Recently, someone asked me of the candidate of my choice on a certain local government office. I have long known that he has been an avid supporter of political contender of whom I am not a big fan of. I’m not sure if he was aware of that or if he could get a hint of it from my affiliations and associations, but he kept at it. I was treated to a brief discourse detailing the merits of his candidate and the demerits of his opponent whom I am actually in favour of. The fact that he made no mention of a third reasonably popular candidate tells me that he seems to know which head to strike. I just let out a respectfully gentle laughter because I can’t argue with someone with a higher rank on the family tree.


Intense interactions such as these are set to spark, all the more now, that one of the corner coaches has called for substitution and a purported formidable fighter has joined in the fray. This is going to be one big circus. Just don’t go on shooting holes on kids like that mad man of Tarusanan.


“Welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” -Romans 14:1