"When he's right, he's right and even when he's wrong, he's always right."
The political landscapes all over the world is changing, and people everywhere are fidgety because for the first time after World War II, a looming cloud of uncertainty has covered the entire planet.
That has been the case here in the Philippines too since after the installation of President Rodrigo Duterte, who's "All out War on Drugs" and "Foreign Policy Shifts" has gained some mixed local and international views.
Regardless of his controversial decisions and questionable style of communication, the new President of the Philippines remains to be one of the most popular person among his people. And maybe in China and Russia as well. :)
With millions of Filipino supporters and FANS here and abroad, he's like the Alden Richards of Philippine politics. I just couldn't find a dimple anywhere.
The good news is that BIG NUMBERS wins, the bad news is... BIG NUMBERS wins.
If we go back in history and revisit the events that has transpired prior to the rise of Nazi Germany and World War II, you'll find that it all started with a CHARISMATIC person who bears a GRUDGE. His name was Adolf Hitler.
His rise to power was brought about by his ability to give a demoralized (and oppressed) people a reason to believe that they can be great again. He capitalized on the growing desperation of the people. His persistent campaign to restore German Pride gave rise to millions of worshiping fans that catapulted him to the highest position in the land. Fans who would defend him and even gave their own lives and the lives of their children for him.
Hitler was an excellent, charismatic leader with millions of followers - but he gave the world its most devastating man-made catastrophe that claimed an immeasurable number of lives.
Now, although President Duterte have been quoted in the past comparing himself to Hitler, let me just make it clear that I AM NOT SAYING THAT DUTERTE IS THE HITLER OF THIS GENERATION - and this post is not even about him. It's about the FANS!
However, one cannot deny certain similarities - both are excellent and charismatic leaders with millions of WORSHIPING followers. Duterte's campaign is also centered on the plight of a desperate nation burdened with a huge drug problem (according to the government) which they linked to criminality, corruption and poverty.
In one of his most recent statement, the President said that "he believes in God but not in organized religion," - which to me is kinda like one of those hypocritical statements, because his idea of God was formed in the religion that he was raised in. To say that you believe in God and not believe in religion is like getting a fruit from a tree that never existed.
Whether he admits it or not, his idea of God came from a religious belief.
It's more acceptable if he just told us that he's an agnostic. But he didn't say that - he clearly said that he believes in God.
Unfortunately, that statement has introduced me to two types of Duterte supporters (or Fans):
Fan #1 is a lot like Duterte (Believes in God, No to Religion) but worships Duterte like a deity along with other followers.
Fan #2 is a member of an organized religion but agrees and even defends Duterte's statement. Well, actually all of his statements. So whatever happened to your religious faith? In the order of priorities, was it Duterte first and God second?
I don't know which of the two types of fans is worse.
In one of the talks that I gave to young students I said,
"Don't let augmented reality games take you away from the real thing - you don't know what you're missing-out when you're always glued on virtual spaces.. see with your own eyes, experience with your own senses, catch more friends and collect lots of awesome memories."Just the same, I now tell all fans of political figures (not just Duterte) to not let your love and admiration or hate and abhor for one person cloud your ability to think and to be blinded to the truth and what matters most. You got your own minds - use it.
As a political figure, yes there have been some areas in his character and personality that seems to be a little off for me. I even expressed my disappointments on some areas of his policies because it goes against the basic principles that I hold dear.
But I did however saw some things that I do like about the new President and I have openly expressed and complimented him a couple of times for both his humor and leadership capabilities.
The sad part is that many Duterte supporters have embraced the FANDOM MENTALITY excessively and are unable to objectively see through all the events that are transpiring. They have an answer to every criticisms even before weighing the merits of the criticism presented. A meme to every negative issues and a way to divert blames on other people, events or things. The same way the Nazis are with Adolf Hitler. And our grand parents have witnessed the dangers of this kind of behavior.
The main symptom of these bug is that these people can't say anything bad about their idol.
Which is totally insane! Because no one is that perfect - Only God is perfect!
I can even tell you 2 or 3 things about my mother that I don't like.
An organized version of that are the various websites and social media pages on the internet that features biased news and opinions in favor of the President - back in Hitler's time they call these publications as a propaganda. I can name you several websites that has 'biased' reporting written all over it.
And if you're a die-hard fan, you'll ONLY read and believe these sites and its articles.
The thing about propaganda is that they're also known as a very effective BRAINWASHING tool. That's why most political groups resort to these activities to forward their agenda.
Now there are several ways to prove to yourself that you are not one of the people that got brainwashed.
First is that if you can still find 2 or 3 things about your idol that you are not fond of and openly expressed it without defending it from yourself. Can you? Can I hear a challenge accepted?
I am not much of a fan-type of person - I wear no colors, and that keeps me impartial, objective.. and sane. I was one of those people who have criticized the past administration for its flaws and I am doing it again in this new administration.
I praise the good stuff and you can be sure that my eyes are wide open and will never let the bad stuff slip pass by me.
Second is if you can still differentiate what's factual news and opinion-based articles.
For example, I have read from one of a propaganda news website an article with this title: Duterte Lectures Inquirer Reporter Who Put Malice on His Comments About Leni Robredo - now based on the title, it may appear to be like a news article and the site does not distinguishes a news article from an opinion-based article, so to an unsuspecting supporter (FAN) all of it are factual news!
But when you read the opening paragraph, it starts like this:
"The mainstream media is really getting desperate. After a series of “mistranslations” of the President’s statements by the Lopez-owned ANS-CBN network, it is now the turn of the Philippine Daily Inquirer to try and create a mountain out of a molehill."
The first line already tells you that the post is not news and that the writer presented his bias already. It's an opinion article and should be taken for what it is - just a point of view.
Regardless of the merit of the article, we must first learn to distinguish that this is only an opinion and not NEWS.
A blog, like my blog is not news - and this post you're reading now is an opinion-based article.
To conclude: Let me just say that being a fan is not a bad thing, but just make sure that you don't turn into mindless zombies in the process.
We don't want another charismatic leader causing havoc in the world because the fans allowed it to happen.
Fr. Aelred Nilo, OSB said in a homily:
Earthly life is so good that it can sometimes distract us from God. Ironically life itself suppresses our desire to think about any life beyond this world or about God. Because of our attachment to worldly life MAN HIMSELF BECOMES A SUBSTITUTE FOR GOD. This is perhaps the reason why Mark Helprin said, "The human race is intoxicated with narrow victories, for life is a string of them like pearls that hit the floor when the rope breaks, and roll away in perfection and anarchy.”I am not a fan. I give my adoration and worship only to God and God alone. I praise men for their actions and convictions.
GOD first, COUNTRY second, FAMILY third, SELF fourth ... showbiz personalities last.