Dealing With Bullies

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GROWING UP, I was taught that the noble spirit soars. It puts others above self, exalts excellence, and defends righteousness for the benefit of all. I understood how idealistic that was, but therein lay its beauty: ideals transcend us and invite aspiration; they beckon us and we dream.

The nearer a person achieves the ideal, the greater the social prestige. That used to be the case. We used to admire the unique, the intelligent, the virtuous, the heroic – those who set the bar higher for us and showed us it could be done. These folks were larger than life and in many ways, they became our ideal. We looked up to them, wanted to emulate them, because they somehow made life more sublime.

It’s different now.

Today, people honor boors and lionize mediocrity. They believe the deceptive and admire the inane. They even applaud philistines and laugh at their insulting below-the-belt digs because, it’s said, this bargas behavior is real and so unlike the “elitist” propriety that marked the past. Disente is out; bastos is in.

The DDS crowd doesn’t really care how smart one is (cum papasa is the new cum laude), nor how presentable one is (dugyot is the new debonair), nor how morally upright one is (tutal lahat naman may number 2, di ba? *wink wink*). All they require from their clay-footed heroes is that they swear loudly and carry a big stick.

BULLIES

The DDS heroes don’t soar but wallow happily in mud. They loom large in cyberspace and gloat over their inflated follower rates. They enjoy the title “social media influencer” but use that power to misdirect and inflame. Like Rodrigo Duterte, they throw ad hominems with precision and teach their followers to do likewise. This delights the millions “influenced” who mostly enjoy the entertainment. Why shouldn’t they? It’s “Face to Face” in real life and there are several episodes to choose from.

The DDS bloggers have a consolidated following of over 6 million or more netizens. They sadly use their platforms to sell defamatory and deceptive narratives. Recently, Lorraine Badoy in her DigongMyLabs blog charged an “Unseen Hand” with the death of truth. She also blamed it for every criticism hurled at Duterte, whose benevolent fledgling government, she claimed, deserved total support.

She maligned those who have cited the 13,000 deaths reported thus far. Where did they get these “unfounded, atrocious numbers?” she asked. *Cricket cricket cricket* was the response, she said. Well, I was one of those who cited that figure, and if she’s asking me, my answer is that I got it from the government – where else? As Pinoy Ako Blog says, resibo:

badoy-13k_realnumbersph

An excerpt from Badoy’s blog on the left. In the last paragraph she asks, “Where did you get that number?” The source of the cited figure is on the right.

Check out her JoverGanda the Powerful. Notice how she lumps up critics without citing who said what and how. We are all called “them” regardless of our individual persuasions and are all deftly linked with the “Unseen Hand” (that is so obviously a dig at the “yellows”). We are all scored for calling these deaths “EJKs” (though I, for one, have not; in fact I have qualified the figures each time I’ve used them). Finally we are accused of outright lying and the current buzz word: destabilization. Notice how, in the rest of her blog, she focuses her vitriol on PAB’s Jover Laurio. She demonizes Laurio and scrutinizes even her navel lint and underarms with a vulgarity most unbecoming of a doctor and a public servant. Her contempt for Laurio belies the compassion required of a social worker, much more, an official of her stature. How very grievous. And how very actionable.

This is the kind of tripe these DDS bloggers dish out. They insinuate without explaining, don’t always do proper research, and generalize their attacks much like Chicago gangsters strafed enemies with tommy guns. And they achieve all this with a hubris that impresses the simple-minded. Happily, only the simple-minded believe them.

CHANGE IS COMING

Right after Duterte’s election, non-DDS netizens either retreated with PTSD, or hid to escape the online assaults.  However, there were those who braved the beatings because we believed tyranny must be resisted, and resistance needs a voice. Despite the gaslighting; despite the vicious, malicious barbs; despite the RABID COMMENTS OF TROLLS WHO FILLED OUR WALLS WITH ANGRY CAPITAL LETTERS; despite having our inboxes filled with various threats in bad grammar; despite the risk of detention, physical injury, and even death; despite being unfriended and disowned by DDS family and friends; despite being bullied in every way and with every curse word imaginable, we persisted because silence was not an option.

There used to be only a few of us; now there are more. There used to be 16.6 million DDS; now there are less. Things have really changed.

The reason is that we clung to our ideals, while they compromised. We stuck to our principles, while they sold theirs down the river. We had heroes worth emulating, while theirs is melting before their very eyes. We are showing, and will prove in the end, that the only way to deal with bullies is to stand our ground.

Duterte is slightly savvier than his minions, and he knows – it is obvious that he knows – that a reckoning is nigh. Global attention on the war on drugs has cast a stark light on the oppressive tendencies of his regime. He is urgently attempting a hail mary but his threats of a revolutionary government are a flaccid bluff. Even if the PNP has succumbed to his magic mushrooms, the AFP is still lucid; it is not his private army to command at whim. He cannot move without them. They will not move without civil society. And 86 million of us (probably more now, since the 16.6 m have been drastically reduced) will not budge unless he delivers more than this reprehensible war on drugs.

The DDS bullies currently hold the yard, but not for much longer. Good governance is more than wielding bully tactics, and if they don’t know this or can’t figure it out, then it’s best that they clear out. As Duterte said of another matter recently: “The earlier it goes away, the better… then it would be more orderly, there would be no more trouble.”

But as for you, brothers and sisters, do not be discouraged while doing what is right. – 2 Thessalonians 3:13
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

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