“Huwag mong i-submit yan. Maniwala ka sa akin. Maraming magagalit sa’yo,” my husband said, after reading a draft supposedly for my column this week, without my permission.

I just finished the draft after three months or so of not writing anything for my column. I can’t think of a perfect alibi.
I left my computer on as I went out of the room to grab something to nibble. When I came back, my husband was already scrutinizing my work and was ordering me to discard it, as if he was given the authority to do so.

Anyways, the piece anchored on my contrastive study of metaphorical expressions used in electoral commentaries by the national broadsheets of Taiwan and the Philippines.

In my draft, I was discussing the themes I created based on the media’s representation of the 2016 presidential campaigns in the two countries. I narrated that I have established four thematic categories of metaphors as used in the broadsheets.

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To briefly discuss these categories: straight campaign talks about direct electioneering activities; dirty campaign involves unlawful acts or dirty tricks of candidates and their political parties; warfare campaign, describes the political campaign as that of war, employing military tactics and great battle skills; and witchcraft campaign, presents politicians with ‘supernatural power’ constructed through nouns such as witches, brooms sticks, potions, and tricks.

And so I asked my husband, “what’s wrong with it?” He said no one wants to read anything about politics anymore, especially about political campaigns.

He has a point. Our world, real or virtual, is already full of negativities brought by the pandemic and political divide. Personal and professional relationships are broken because of differing political views. Dinner tables are empty, and coffee breaks are now silent because one is afraid of saying something that might hurt the other.

We have been deeply divided by our political differences. We’ve become suspicious of each other, questioning motives before considering ideas. We only accept facts if presented by those who represent our political ideologies, but we dismiss information delivered by those who are not on our side.

When I was younger, I used to support and work for a political leader. I was one of those who were excited about campaign seasons. I loved joining, if not organizing political rallies, waiting for my candidates to present their platform.

Now I can say that political disagreement created severe polarization in our lives. It has become so much more intense today than it had been yesterday. It’s alarming. Isn’t it? We can’t choose the best and the brightest leader because of blatant and subtle distortion and manipulation of truths, carefully engineered to favor some candidates.

This bitter divide has become deeper because of social media, a new force in our society, used by some to spread lies, disinformation, and sow hatred. How many times have you raised your eye brows today just because you saw something you can’t accept in your social media feeds? How many friends have you ‘unfriended’ in your virtual reality just because you wear different political colors?

How about coming together again at our family dinner table, in our favorite cafes during coffee breaks, or weekends, and start talking again about sensible things just like yesterday—before electoral campaigns, before fake news, before cancel culture?

It’s not about accepting or endorsing our candidate. It’s about knowing what’s really at stake if we missed to cast our sacred vote to the most deserving one. It’s not just about our faith in a certain leader but the fate of our country and the future generation that is at stake.

Let’s engage in a dialogue peacefully, like civilized human beings, and become friends again. That’s surreal. I’m sure.
Remember Leonard Cohen once said: “Ring the bells that still can ring; Forget your perfect offering; There is a crack in everything; That’s how the light gets in.”

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