By Jewilyn Sta Maria

Cartoon by Kent Ian Nellas

With the election season getting underway, the current online dilemma of some "wokes" lies in whether unfriending their friends who have opposing political views as theirs or tolerating their ignorance for the sake of their friendship. The thing is, unfriending them is a lose-lose situation. We lose a chance to have a healthy discourse with them, making both of you less progressive.

Filipinos' political views are most visible on social media; different statements, beliefs, and opinions are emerging to show support to their picked candidates, with organizations and profiles that appear to be divided primarily between government supporters and critics. This remark, without a doubt, aims to inform others as to why they should support their beliefs in a specific candidate.

According to old custom, never discuss politics or religion with friends or colleagues. Nobody should expect their friends to share their exact viewpoints on every topic and opinion.  However, while we have different opinions, we are not entitled to our own truths.

It is a different story when these friends solely support people who lie and abuse others.  Some viewpoints are so diametrically opposed that maintaining a normal relationship is practically impossible. It's possible that defending your particular values is more essential than pretending to be nice.

Frequently, marginalized groups bear the brunt of these types of political debates. Individual lives are affected by issues of public debate. Political opponents are not simply presenting objectionable ideas to women, people of color, and LGBT+ people; they are also implying that their safety and well-being are up for question. When someone opposes gay marriage, they are expressing a policy viewpoint, but they are also implying that gays are unworthy of equal treatment or basic respect. 

Many people believe that befriending people with different political views may lead to valuable educational opportunities and that this is a responsibility as a part of the community who knows better about a certain political topic. However, it is truly challenging to change someone's perspective notably on politics since every one of us has the freedom to express our opinions and hold beliefs and some are just too narrow-minded and closed ears in terms of this kind of discussion especially when you encounter a troll. Even if you try to engage in a healthy discussion with them, they will just try to attack you personally. 

As for my own perspective, everyone has the right to end friendships because of political differences but I do not believe that anyone should feel forced to do it. It is incredibly difficult to cut ties in some relationships, especially with your own family and closest friends, significant enough to set aside and avoid sharing political disputes that may be addressed within a conversation. 

Unfriending someone, on the other hand, is a way of protecting yourself from poisonous viewpoints or what you believe is toxic enough for you.  Let us acknowledge the fact that trolls are everywhere and their main goal is to break us or make us one of them. They also earn from our interactions with them.

It's never wrong to avoid people who give you bad and negative vibes; in fact, doing so will protect our inner peace, and it doesn't mean you're mad or hateful for doing so. At the end of the day, it’s all about how we feel. Excellent communication and relationships should make us feel pleased and unburdened, which is sometimes impossible due to the stress of political squabbles.