Social media has energized discussions on erstwhile dinner table taboo subjects such as religion and politics.
The anonymity of social media has encouraged people to express their unfiltered opinions for all the world to read. But social media, while democratizing views have also exposed the inner values of individuals, their underlying life principles, or lack of it.
A high school friend, a Trump supporter, shared a post showing the infamous Skittle meme which stated: “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That is our Syrian refugee problem.” I was aghast at the post he shared and asked him what his thought process was. He truly believed that taking in refugees, especially Muslim refugees, will hurt his adoptive country. Isn’t that bordering on racism?
I also called out a former mentor who would post and share views that are totally unsupported by facts. And even when called out that what she posted was fake news, she would act as the naïve empress without clothes, totally ignoring the facts. She would pontificate about the ills of voting for Duterte but she would brand as malicious any pictures showing corruption among the LP ranks. For her, Roxas and Robredo cannot do wrong and all other positive information about any other candidates are propaganda. The video of an LP rally where someone was shown distributing money? Fake. The picture of the millions who attended the Duterte rally at Luneta? Photoshopped.
Then I have this former colleague who was in charge of Gender and Development. I considered her the moral compass of the company because she would tell off our other colleagues who would tease co-workers who were married to other people. She correctly lectured us once, “It’s okay to tease officemates who are single but not those who are married.” Imagine my surprise when I saw her post supporting Leila De lima, even claiming that De lima was #EveryWoman!
And there were colleagues in the IT profession who were with me fighting side by side to ensure transparent election processes. We have appeared in Senate inquiries together highlighting the incompetence of Smartmatic and COMELEC and how they brazenly flaunted violating the provisions of the Automated Election System Law. And when Smartmatic made the cosmetic change during Election Day, we all indignantly protested that no one, especially a foreigner such as Venezuelan Marlon Garcia of Smartmatic, can make changes to any server during election day. But when they realized that protesting this breach in protocol can affect the actual results of the VP race, they suddenly bit their tongues and swallowed their principles. They would rather allow a foreign company to rape the country’s election process than having a “son of a dictator” win the election. If we want the process to be respected, should we not also respect the results?
Then there’s this fraternity brother I have who frequently use the “n” word in his posts and comments. Another brod is rabidly anti-Duterte because a distant relative was killed in the war on drugs. The victim was a drug user and it seems that he knew his assailants since he walked towards them before he was shot. Of course, my brod blames Duterte for his relative’s death, not even entertaining the thought that the drug syndicates may be cleaning house.
While a friend once advised that friendship in the real world is more important than friendships on Facebook, I have unfollowed all these people. My principle is simple. Would I invite these people over for dinner and allow them to share their views and opinion in front of my teenage daughter? If the answer is no, then I unfollow them.
I am sure they also perceive of me as someone who supports a mass murderer for a President. They are free to unfollow me as well.