EL Niño is devastating the countryside with a heat wave that is causing untold miseries to poor farmers. Fanatical supporters of candidates are devastating online shores with a hate wave that is doing more harm than good to the on-going electoral exercise.
A national disaster could very well strike if we chose the wrong president. And many are not helping to avert this by disagreeing on choices in a spiteful manner and clogging both virtual and real worlds with toxic bytes that detract against a soundly reasoned nationalistic choice of a leader.
A fellow columnist recently wrote an unfavorable opinion about a candidate and I cannot begin to describe the venom I read in the candidate’s supporters’ comments. Spiteful statements like ‘how much were you paid’ and ‘why are you so damn stupid’ went through the roof.
I also remember writing favorably one day for President Noynoy Aquino’s side of an issue and somebody wrote to accuse me of shilling for the Liberal Party. By the way, Merriam-Webster’s definition of “shill” is “to talk about or describe someone or something in a favorable way because you are being paid to do it.”
Judgments of being stupid and a paid hack in many online posts (and I presume also in face-offs) are not only unfair but totally uncalled for. Unfair because to conclude that somebody criticizing a candidate is being paid by the opposing camp is too big a blind leap for supporters who hardly know one another.
Uncalled for because we will sink or swim together in this ship of state and should, therefore, give one another the benefit of the doubt that our personal preferences are for the best for the country. No matter who the next president will be, what kind of un-nation will we be if we are spitefully intolerant of one another’s views?
It is so true what someone wrote about us alone saving ourselves, not Rodrigo Duterte or, for that matter, any of the candidates. But that becomes pure rhetoric after we ask the question who is going to save us from the destructive disunity brought about by our spiteful, in cases violent, intolerance of one another’s political views or preferences?
That’s where a charismatic hero-type leader is needed. For all we know, he or she might not even be born yet as our dysfunctional nation is still incapable of socially constructing such a leader. However, because it is election time, we must decide who among the five comes closest to providing us the strong leadership needed in this critical juncture of our national life.
We can help each other make a good choice by disagreeing civilly. We must keep the hate wave from becoming a virtual tsunami that will make it impossible for any leader, no matter how gifted, to pluck us out of its nation-killing undertow.