Photo: Mae Nalam

by Kristian

I am a politics student here in The Philippines, and to have my perspectives actively challenged and reconsidered is incomparable to any other experience I’ve had. This rings equally true for analysis of the greatest political turmoil as well as in the way I think, act, and behave as a Filipino citizen on a daily basis.

As a youth living in this generation, it is difficult to express my political thoughts for several reasons. When young people tend to be vocal in a political spectrum, people primarily under the ‘gen-z’ and ‘boomer’ categories tend to oppose their interpretation, which solidifies the idea that youths’ voices are not bound to be validated.

If we are going to comprehend this type of behavior, then it is easy to figure out that power is operated not just in the Government but in our own respective homes, school, and in the academe. It is through these platforms that my freedom is gauged by other people.

Social media is no doubt a populated forum in which people can freely discourse with politicians, and express their views about current issues and public affairs. Political discussion, however, seems to have become challenging in recent years. Stories of being unfriended by friends have become a common routine in the system simply because of diverse political views. The same can be said about our attachment in political culture.

It is reflective as to how I can be passionate about my favorite sport teams, favorite mobile legend heroes, favorite bands, and artists. Essentially, I can argue on which basketball team I think is the best without destroying the strong friendship I have with my friends. In organisations, colleagues can often dispute strategies and approaches without risking a long-term fallout. In short, politics is a crucial dimension for people in terms of being vocally active.

Social media became an avenue for me to be able to express myself in different lenses because I have the right to do so, though with certain limitations. And I have come to realise that these expressions are hard to identify with a great impact. We evaluate these competing claims by testing whether these types of political engagement – political information and expressing political dynamics and views on social media – are associated with higher-threshold modes and effects of political action to determine if they need to be called out on the web or even beyond the web.

Politics is complex, but it is easy to understand that politics is the study of power. One can be powerful, yet powerless at the same time. There’s also an inferior figure, while a prime mover would be the superior one. I believe that power is ubiquitous. It is never static, because if you aren’t taking any action, then you’re being acted upon. Aside from that, power is like water that flows continuously – remember that power begets more power.

Deciding whether to speak or not to speak is a political behavior. It is a choice, where I am still acted upon whether my decisions are in the black or white meter. My political voice is determined not because of my study, but by what I have seen and heard in the political sphere. Speaking up what is right is a civic power that needs to be understood during these tough times. When the state gives orders that are not for the general consensus, then I have the right to provoke such fail interpretations by the Government because we are not obliged to obey opposing orders of the state.

Politics should involve deciding upon collective goals for the society, and devising a mechanism through which these goals can be attained. But reality often slaps us in the face, given how people’s expectations and prime schemes for a better community transformation often fall short when it comes to understanding the messy and disjointed realities of political life.

Nonetheless, this concern casts a huge spotlight as it highlights the true state of the Philippines. Who guards the guards? Who watches the watchmen? Who is to be held accountable when the Government flicks and casts abuses to its people?

My political voice may arise out of the circumstances I have necessitated, seen, and experienced, but my belief in speaking up arises out of conviction.

About the author: Kristian is a youth-advocate who primarily upholds press freedom and youth empowerment to various communities in The Philippines. He is also a pursuant writer who believes in the power of story-telling.

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