Hindi dahil sa hindi alam ni Ben ang gusto nya. Hindi lang nya trip makigulo.
Bahay, kotse, stable na trabaho. Sariling business, kung papalarin. Asawa. Dalawang anak. A good amount of partying and travelling before that one, of course. And other cliché dreams: maybe fame, why not? Power? An opportunity to change the world? I am being idealistic.
Napatingin si Ben kay Sammy. Tumatalsik ang laway nito na may kahalong konting iced tea. Si Sammy ang isa sa mga kaibigan nya na vocal sa social media. Yung tipong nakikipag-away sa Facebook.
“Pero, sabi nga ng isang Instagram post na nakita ko, “a very special place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral when they need to make a stand.” paliwanag ni Sammy, na uminom ulit ng iced tea.
“I don’t care. I might have secret social media accounts for all you know, trying to troll everyone. I just am not noisy within my circle of friends. It’s just not that worth it. My friends are not the entire voting public. They’re part of it, yes, but they are exactly that – just part of it. I have my own ways of spreading my opinions without damaging my relationships.”
“Whatever dude. It just boils down to making a stand. You are overcomplicating things.”
“Who says I’m not making a stand?”
“I don’t see you posting your political opinions..”
“Again, I have my own ways of expressing them, and it doesn’t have to be through my circle of friends.”
“I still don’t get it. But let me ask you, do you actually have troll accounts?”
“Whatever you want to call them. I am not saying I have them, but if I do, isn’t that a smarter way to influence public opinion?”
“You’re kidding, right? Tell me you’re kidding. Trolling? Really? Besides, aren’t you worried about creating a “neutral” reputation?”
“Di naman.. Being neutral is still an opinion. And I am entitled to one.”
“You’re a fucking coward.”
“Ulol. Pero, I might actually be. Hindi ko rin alam eh. The thing is, I know deep down, my voice will have an impact kapag nakigulo ako. Even if I only have one voice, it’s still something, right? But in the greater scheme of things, with the millions worth of ads and target marketing and those gargantuan political machineries, could we really impact greater public opinion through our personal posts? Idagdag mo pa ang ka-toxican ng mga tao, that sheer volume of ego, intellectual masturbation and shit. It’s just not worth it. Kaya masisisi mo ba ang iba, tulad ko, na manahimik na lang instead na makigulo pa? And run the risk of losing friends and relatives? Deep down I also know that it’s just really a matter of opinion. We can have a wrong opinion sometimes, right? But do those opinions make us bad people? Perhaps we draw the line with some opinions, like being a Hitler fanatic, or blasphemy, or drug use, et cetera. But maybe that’s what being political is all about, making a stand. Choosing what to believe in and then encouraging others to do the same, because we know that if we don’t speak up and sell our idea, it’s possible to wake up in world one day as a citizen who has no choice but to live with that idea – the idea, or politician, or law, or policy which won, because we didn’t try to fight it.”
“Dude. That’s what I’ve been telling you all along.”
“Yes, but not quite. I go back to my first – argument.. There are smarter, more pragmatic ways to voice out opinions.”
“Smarter ba talaga o selfish?” banat ni Sammy.
“I mean, you are entitled to your own opinion, so am I. Look, why don’t we just agree to disagree? Mahabang usapan pa ‘to. Mukhang magsasara na sila. Integrity, moral compass and all that shit, aabutin tayo ng 9-9.”
Sumenyas si Ben sa waiter para mag bill-out. Inubos naman ni Sammy ang natitirang sisig sa plato.
Photo courtesy: https://unsplash.com/@claybanks