Political crisis due to historical ignorance
Richard Heydarian asserts that “to dismiss the 2022 elections results as simply the upshot of disinformation and irrational voting behavior is both intellectually lazy and morally questionable” (“Leni and the future of the Pink Movement,” Horizons, 5/17/22).
In the aftermath of a very divisive presidential election, and the undeniable existence of well-oiled disinformation machinery of the Marcos camp, it is not surprising for such an assessment to gain currency among Robredo supporters. But to label it intellectually lazy and morally questionable is, I think, unfair and speculative. Without empirical evidence, who can say exactly how disinformation influenced the deepest inner perceptions and convictions of voters who trooped to the polls on May 9? Pre-election surveys and even exit polls could not possibly capture it, and each voter is entitled to the presumption of a thinking process and set of moral standards that allow for measured judgment not only on who to vote for but on electoral outcomes.
Not all Robredo supporters would simply ascribe the Marcos victory to disinformation per se, but they are all cognizant of one thing: the breadth and depth of the systematic and prolonged disinformation campaign and historical revisionism waged by the Marcos camp in preparation for the 2022 elections.
A noted Jesuit educator keenly observed that the ignorance of most Filipinos not only of the real state of martial law but of Philippine history itself is what has put the country in a kind of political limbo. A reputable social scientist deplored the fact that majority of voters have succumbed to myths, half-truths, and blatant lies but still encourages freedom-loving Filipinos not to despair but think of what they can still do given their constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms as citizens. Our Catholic bishops collectively condemned the organized and sinister disinformation and historical distortion happening during the campaign period.
One can, therefore, simply wonder how voters could have been truly free to make an informed choice given the disinformation and the negative campaigning that had been foisted on them early on. More likely than not, thanks to social media and the deceptive campaign strategies, they had already harbored a false sense of nostalgia toward a past that never existed, disdain for the next leading contender engendered by the most vicious of black propaganda, an inflamed sense of deep frustration with previous leaders who made them attracted to an obscure scion of a corrupt dictator promising a nebulous vision of change and throwing whatever is left of our cherished democratic ideals to the wind.
Where has our country gone? Even the Church has apparently been helpless against this fierce onslaught on vulnerable hearts and minds and failed to rally all its members to stand up to truth and justice, enabling the victors to now mock the Biblical exhortation “The truth will set you free.”
DONATO P. SOLIVEN
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