Flatulence in a time of Divide

I feel that I will have to constantly apologize in my inconsistency in keeping this blog updated. While I am grateful to those who follow me and my ramblings, and wishes and comments for more, I have always been a laid-back kind of person. And although having no follow through is a trait I am most certainly not proud of, I also like the idea that my blog will always be there whether I feel like posting something or not. Keeps things less stressful and helps avoid making it like work, like a burden.

So excuses aside, there is another reason why I have been avoiding writing a post. I actually wrote something a few months back but decided not to forego it, because it was something I wrote in the midst of frustration. So after a good night sleep I woke up in a better mood and realized that nothing out of anger always comes out well.

But it kept nagging at me, and I feel like it’s important for me to say something, at the very least to give me comfort in the release. At the risk of using a flatulent analogy (in the hopes of keeping some levity, or some comic relief), but it’s like when you try to hold this big fart coming, but you don’t want to be rude, or be gross. But you’ve been keeping it in for so long that you’re starting to feel stomach pains, and begin to realize that there is no other way. So even though you know that it’s going to make others around you a bit uncomfortable, you take a risk and just let it loose, if only for your own relief.

Speaking of unwanted gas, there seems to be some change in the air, and it isn’t quite pleasant.

If you are ever interested in the happenings in my country, you would probably know that last May we elected a new President. What I feel about him and his way of doing things, is not what I want to write about. As a voter I respect the majority of my fellow Filipinos who put our new President in office, and as a voter I am merely a small voice amongst many, so whether or not I like him as my president, is unimportant.

What I would like to voice out is this feeling of divided-ness. As what has recently happened in the US election, our current administration, and the election that has led to it, has caused a rift in many Filipinos. As sense of them versus us, debates sparking between those that like him, and those that don’t are taking ground. If you ask me, most all of us here in our country wants change, the problem is that there seems to be conflicting ideals on how to get there.

Most recently, decisions made and/or caused by our government has sparked more conflict, opening old wounds, and in effect bringing out the need for many to take a stand to declare a side.

What disturbs me is that this difference in ideals seem to reveal sides of people around us we never really expected there to be. People whose good opinion we once valued and respected has become tainted with the sides and beliefs taken. People you once thought to understand the value of justice and fairness now seem to condone violence and hate, for the price of their peace of mind; their humanity in exchange for a sense of relief and a notion of moving forward.

All this is echoed especially with Social Media serving as platform to express both our deepest thoughts and shallow rantings. I used to complain that people online should have better things to say or post, or tweet about; like matters of politics and discourse of issues at hand. But now that we have started to do so, it seems that this wish came with a price. I now find myself “unfollowing” and “unfriending” friends and relatives I am connected with online. I did not want to do it at first because, as with Facebook, you risk surrounding yourself with people who only echo your sentiments, people who think like you, and like the same things as you do.

And that is dangerous because that would cause you having blinders to all aspects and develop unfair and sheltered notions.

So what I try to do is keep people who although may have conflicting ideas with mine, however seem to at least look at the facts; ones that try to educate themselves with all sides of the stories, and ones that keep an open-mind and a healthy disposition to a well-rounded friendly debate. My brother for instance, he and I have been constantly exchanging articles we find, and whenever we see each other, have been talking about it a lot.

It’s interesting to see that although we grew up in the same kind of environment, our ideologies, and opinions on issues and topics seem very different. But despite this difference, we exchange our ideas and continuously try to win each other over to our side of the metaphorical fence. And although some moments lead to heated arguments (to the utter annoyance of our mother, who often finds herself refereeing [is this a word?]) we always find ourselves back to being brother and sister.

And it’s the same with some friends, people in our lives who has been a part of us for so long, and for so many instances, both good and bad. So we hold on to them, even if we don’t agree with some things. Everything else becomes trivial compared to the bonds that we established.

I wish I can say that this is the case for many, but alas not everyone is the same. As I mentioned earlier, I developed a rule, I keep those who keep educated and informed opinions, and family and friends whose existence (pro or otherwise) I cannot live without. But for the rest, I am sorry to lose them in my circle (or at least online). But I also believe that there are arguments you cannot win (or at the very least get through to), especially if the other is resolved and refuses to at least listen, determined that they are already right, without considering all sides. I do want to be open to all opinions, but some can just be hateful and toxic, and that is something I just can’t tolerate.

I used to take pride that despite all the shortcomings our country has, we have always been citizens who freely discuss our opinions. Sad to say, these days I find myself walking on eggshells with this matter. I am now afraid to bring up the topic to others, unsure where they stand. It wouldn’t be a problem finding out that they may not agree with me, what is worst is finding them to be the rabid supporters who will deem you the enemy just because you take a different stand or belief.

On the flip side, as all things have, it also pleasantly surprises you that there are people who you once disliked, who once irritated you, seem to hold a unique grasp of things, an understanding that is refreshingly optimistic and hopeful.

One person I was talking to explained to me that there is a lesson here, and he said that while we judge others for their choices that we do not agree with, democracy is about giving the chance for everyone to exercise the freedom to choose the kind of government they feel they need. And even though this may be frustrating for those who chose differently, the promise of democracy is that if you paid attention, then you will be given the same free chance to choose the next time. So you must be sure to make it count when it comes around.

Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinion on this post and the blog is mine and is not shared by my husband and The Department of Foreign Affairs.




2 thoughts on “Flatulence in a time of Divide

  1. Monching Weller says:

    I can actually relate to you, Ma’am.

    Just recently, my mother and I had an argument over a status I posted on my personal Facebook. What was the status, you may ask? Simply one word: “Mal-edukado”. Apparently, she told me that posting something like that might “offend” people. It was my thinly-veiled jab at the rabid, militant Duterte / Marcos contacts on my timeline – including a few cousins. (I eventually deleted it, so as not to blow the argument out of proportion.)

    As of now though, I’m stuck in a dilemma: how do you deal with extended family members possessing such toxic ideas? I’ve unfriended a distant cousin on my mother’s side of the family (a Marcos loyalist) on Facebook, and have blacklisted him for life. However, he’s not the only one there…

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