One of my Facebook friends posted that he voted for the controversial politician who won a seat in the Senate. To that he added the virtue of being united in 'faith', in effect, telling whoever gets to read it, "My religion is powerful." Educated. Professional. Religious.
I scrolled down.
Many times when I read the rants on Facebook or Twitter of friends who suffer through the heavy traffic on their daily commute, I shake my head. I live in the campus where I work, in a city where everything is 10 minutes away - 40, when it is the holidays. I could only imagine how they feel.
I scroll down.
Today, on Twitter, a tax reform 'advocate' reacted when I made a comment that "Tag dise-syete na ang sardinas." He/she asked why I was more worried about the the price of sardines when I should be "tired about the low productivity due to traffic, hindered creative jobs because of lack of infrastructures". He/she suggested I should just cooperate and support the government's #BuildBuildBuild. Have I not been compelled to do so, thus, the 17-peso sardines?
I said a line or two. I scrolled down.
Someone posted online "It's just politics." Saying to the effect that we should not let it ruin our relationships. I agree on letting love rule in our relationships. But I definitely disagree that "It is just Politics." Our politics is a reflection of what we value, what we believe in, and what we want for the future of our children. I started writing it down as a comment to that post. However, it was my mother who posted it, and lest I be misjudged by online spectators as a rebellious, disrespectful child for not agreeing with my mother, I desisted.
I scrolled down.
We are judged by what we put online. That's the risk we take when we post our thoughts, or a photo, a meme, or an article. And the person's reaction to it would largely be affected by the way he perceives you. If he likes you, he understands your sarcasm. If he doesn't, he would think your are mocking...and Christians shouldn't mock. Yes, we are fond of pulling-out the "What-Kind-Of-Christian-Does-That" card on people. It is even worse for pastors.
When a girl is raped or murdered, you would read the rage from people. But the angriest ones are the mothers of daughters. Understandably so because she could not imagine what kind of hell she would go through if that happens to her own.
When a fragment of the society suffers a calamity ,or an oppression, people start online revolutions. Rightly so because they need the voice to cry out so the spotlight's be turned on them. For help, for retribution, for the realization that they are a 'fragment that makes the world whole'.
When corruption is blatant in the government we rally our cries on the streets... but more often now, in the world wide web --- the new highway. We let them know we are watching.
No, we don't scroll down. We say our piece. We string our words so they can be deadly enough like a sword. Sometimes wielding them in all directions, hoping for a hit no matter how wide the battle ground. Most times we miss the target. And we end end up wounding a co-worker, a friend, a drinking buddy, a relative...or ourselves.
But we type away with blood on our hands because we are convinced that we are fighting a worthy cause.
A mother painstakingly goes through the rigors of raising a daughter who will become a teacher, or a son who will someday be an doctor, and she will not let any pervert steal that away. She makes that known on Facebook.
A conscientious public school teacher, who shows up every morning in a room full of empty minds waiting to be poured upon with hope... but emptier stomachs with lesser hope of getting filled. He would not allow any selfish politician in the guise of public service to steal away their dreams. He retweets a link on that investigation update.
A promising leader who has climbed from poverty to get an education, uses his education to lift others out of it. He will not allow ignorance to dictate his destiny.. and that of others. He campaigns online.
An advocate for children lives the life of a vagabond. Peddling the cause of the children to whoever will have the courage to make them a priority - a celebrity, a philanthropist, a diplomat...anyone, and anywhere. She would not allow the children to be victims by the systems their parents have voted for. She massively campaigns on social media.
They are not on the streets. They are in their kitchen, in their desks, in the courtrooms, aboard a plane, doing what they do best --- fighting for someone.And so, when you read what they write online, it is not merely a rant. It is a spillage of frustrations that they could have just walked over, but refused to. Slippery floors are more dangerous.
They write at the risk of being misconstrued because those who can't be heard --- the fisherman who stays all night casting his net, the street-sweeper who wakes up before dawn, the farmer who bends his back all day --- they too, have children who are swelling up with dreams. We have no right to shut them down and say "stop posting, do something".
If someone's transcribed thoughts are not a threat to the life you choose to live, be kind. His weapon is not aimed at you. Let him fight the battles he picked for himself. Remember, you are not his enemy.
Even if he unintentionally scrapes your ego.
You are not the enemy.