Perennial Angst

There is a certain amount of seduction sauntering through the comments section of some political article/opinion/video. A good enough seduction, prompting, by all accounts, the heavy urge to pull your eyeballs out of their sockets, disinfect it with bleach while simultaneously spelling out all breeds and sub-breeds of profanities passed down through frustrated generations that had seen enough and just had to verbalize their proper, healthy rage for a proper, sane reason before they implode into unheard wretches.

It’s like stealing a glance at someone you secretly like in class but instead of beholding the sexy, brooding face of your unwitting future husband, you see a dickhead, actually, the head of Duterte (dickhead, the head of Duterte—what’s the difference?) personified, flipping his presidential middle finger branded with the infamous I-don’t-give-a-shit-about-human-rights tagline up in the air.

Although there’s a hell of a lot more seduction reading through well-written, intelligent political commentaries that actually matter, preluding a civil discussion and learning a thing or two before you click the back button, it’s quite hard to resist entertaining yourself in secret with its more rampant counterpart (I have a twisted sense of humor, apologies); namely, the quixotic attempts to morally decontaminate a political figure usually due to a bad case of mob mentality, the sublime trash-talking and bombardment of labels, the vehement proclamation of one’s infallibility, the extravagant shoving of sheer illogic (think: argumentatum ad ________) and disreputable news sources, the great explosion of leafing through history as counterargument, the unprecedented waves of interminable support and applause for what is blatantly wrong and crooked—the whole nine yards.

Just being aware of this hoopla as an average Filipino citizen trying to remain sane at all cost is making Suits more relevant than ever. Apparently Suits presents a harsh reality of how the judicial system works (well, in corporate U.S. law): lawyer #1 picking out lawyer #2’s dirt or histories of dirt as defense in order to overrule lawyer #2’s motion in court in favor of lawyer #1’s. It’s the same here in the Philippines, I am very, very unhappy to say, only more dysfunctional, vulgar, primitive, backwards, and endless. If you think that I’m bashing the political atmosphere of my country, bless you, I hope I am but I’m not.

But that, ladies and gentlemen, is just the dirty tip of the iceberg. Controversial news, featuring a never-before-seen trademark of international and local diplomacy by our almighty demagogue, and installments of semi-praised semi-denounced vigilantism in headlines, among others, loom above our country. Not just news, but also people’s perspectives.

An opinion about how abominable Duterte’s war on drugs (with some verbatim instructions for civilians to put the law into their hands and has since then spawned the placard massacres, by the way) by someone will be called out by another a devious propaganda concocted by some opposing party/oligarch/____tard/political armchair pseudo-pundit within seconds, despite giving a valid case with objective sources, and despite being itself an opinion. An opinion commending Duterte’s war on drugs, however, will be met by the majority as a fucking good job; by the minority, insanity. A call for due process and to value life will be met by invalid rhetorical statements like “do these drug addicts value life when they went on spree-killing innocent lives?”, or, “drug-addicts-doesn’t-deserve-to-live! Fuck ‘em! Fuck ‘em all!”, or, “You have no idea how a grieving family (of a victim of a drug pusher/addict/etc.) must have wanted to do what is already being done to these bastards. So just shut up and eat your popcorn.”

Meanwhile, statistics of casualties from this nationwide operation only accounts the poor hoodlums, hardly the big-time drug dealers and users. If we’re going to persist advocating for the bloody platform of our president for whatever insane reason, then we might as well demand our police force to do their job better by not sparing those rich motherfuckers just as they did not with the small-time crooks living in the alleys, shanties and slums. It then opens up a possible question: is the war on drugs actually a war on the poor? Which opens up another string of questions: if the war on drugs is actually a war on the poor, why is the government killing them instead of helping them? Why are these educated people in the government putting up with a mad kingpin who’s obsessed with letting people know that killing is his favorite word?

There’s so many ways for Duterte to be iron-fisted without breaching human rights and subliminally wanting to massacre a whole lot of potential generations every press conference meeting. Drastic measures need not be this law-breaking and violent. Unless you live in a country where people ask for it, there’s nothing much you can do but speak up.

I’m just glad the Philippines is not yet totally morphed into George Orwell’s Oceania.

Let me just end this post with this because it’s cute:

We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

~ Elie Wiesel





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