*** The following post may contain strong language ***
In deciding things, we always look to some things that would validate a choice; if I'm allergic to peanuts, then I won't touch the stuff. That's how decision-making works. It can be simple and objective like deciding what's the best way to get to work. Other times though, if and then statements are not as easily constructed.
In life, we have to face decisions where the choices aren't necessarily wrong or right and the factors are not necessarily tangible and/or quantifiable. It's like choosing Martin Nievera over Gary Valenciano. Both are undoubtedly talented and legends in their field. It's just that Martin Nievara is always playing and waking me up every weekend morning. And in subjective choices like these, we tap into our individual biases. Martin Nievera has always been better than Gary V. to me. Maybe it's because my parents love him and his voice always accompanies great early morning memories. It's not about talent; Martin is certainly incapable of dancing like Gary. It's just that, I like Martin better.
These biases, I accept them. I actually embrace them because overall, I see myself as a decent guy because/despite of them. And I'm sure most people embrace a few of their respective biases as well. I mean, if you attack Aldub, Lizquen or any other love team, their fans would blow their tops and won't hesitate defending their idols on social media with their names and pictures attached to their posts.
Now, what if the subjective question encompasses more than entertainment? What if the subjective question where we have to exercise our individual biases is something that would affect the state? Say, the elections?
Before proceeding, let's be clear that politics is a grey, if not subjective, area. If it weren't, then every state would be following the same political stance. Free market, command economies or whatever is not the one best way to get things done.
Now, what's ironic here is that the questions I put forth are examples of instances where bias is exercised. I'm sure that some reading this may simply say "hold onto your biases for just a day and vote for someone who will usher in a new era of prosperity for this nation" or whatever. But can we blame a desperate mother looking to feed her child who accepts money in exchange for her singular vote? It's easy to say she's a treacherous moron willing to sell out our nation. But isn't it us, the supposed intellectual elite, who are responsible for shaping the government that failed that woman?
Bias is hard to contain. Whenever people say mass media is biased, all I can say is "Duh!". Everybody is biased. Those who claim they are less biased have actually been proven to be the most biased of all (link).
So, what do we do now?
The urge to close this tab is most likely a manifestation of your bias against whatever I'm writing here. So why don't we just embrace it and actually start to scrutinize it?
Denial is a major speed bump in making sound choices in the elections. Let's accept the fact that some of us turn away whenever bad things about our candidates are discussed. The fear of being proven wrong or being humiliated can be immense. But in politics, sit's different. As I've said earlier that politics is a grey area where one plus one can equate to Lynyrd Skynyrd. The only time you can be proven wrong is when you lose your conviction through something like a complete absence of logic or whatever.
Our failure to accept our bias is actually pretty evident. For example, we can look at Duterte. Duterte once said he won't run. But he finally decided to run because of the Senate Electoral Tribunal's decision to let Grace Poe run. Fast forward a few months and Poe said she would like to make Duterte her "crime czar". And in the most trapo way ever, Duterte said he would be "honored". And yet, the surveys keep looking good for the Davao City mayor. He is still seen as an alternative to what traditional politics normally offers. The unwavering support for the crass, vulgar and trapo-like mayor is amazing. And his supporters' lack of acceptance for their bias towards the mayor may have confused them as to why they were biased towards him in the first place. Walden Bello may have described the situation perfectly in his opinion article in Positively Filipino (link):
"What Duterte actually stands for is drowned out by what people wish him to be: the bearer of their fears and hopes and the sword that will bring about the radical measures they feel are necessary to contain the rot of the system."People are enamored by the tough-talking mayor because of his hands-on approach on crime and his ability to no let due process get in the way of "justice". And yet, he used/usese due process to deprive us of information we citizens are entitled to have: our public servants' lifestyle situation.
Please, don't think Duterte's supporters are the only ones being clouded by their bias. There's Binay's that I feel need no clarification. Roxas' clean persona can be dashed by a little research that his supporter's fail to do because they just trust the Daang Matuwid thing a little too much (*ehem* overpriced firetrucks *ehem*). People will vote for Miriam because she's intelligent. Never mind that the drugs she is taking are having effects on her (Really, we have to spend billions on a plebiscite just to decide on the legacy of Ferdinand Marcos? Even in death he's gonna cost us shit?!). Grace Poe supporters so desperately want new blood that they are willing to look past her inability to answer Duterte's question in TV5's debate convincingly showing an utter lack of preparation. And to be perfectly honest, she has yet to divulge any meaningful macro plans that would help me evaluate her. Maybe I'm biased against her.
Understanding of biases is important whether they be our own or others. The accusations of supporters that mass media is biased towards a candidate don't hold water for me. Since these are profit-driven entities, they are biased towards whatever gets the clicks or viewers and not necessarily towards or against a certain candidate. Duterte was followed incessantly by mass media even before declaring his intentions. That proves to me that these entities only go where the story is hot. They are focusing on Trillanes' corruption allegations against Duterte because it's hot and not because it's against Duterte. It's that or they really are supporting someone because that someone would lead to more profit. Either way, I doubt the name of the president is important to them. The almighty peso is where their bias lies.
Can you imagine a Philippines where being biased is not held against you? We would have actual communists on prime time news programs talking about their ideologies giving us laymen the chance to know more about what they believe in and why they believe it. We would have disenfranchised, apathetic youths on TV talking there instead of some dude saying he wants to vote because he wants it to be an instrument of change or some shit like that. Karen Davila would actually be talking with LGBT representatives about same-sex marriage instead of some politician who respects the LGBT community but not to the point that he would allow them to marry each other.
Acceptance of bias can lead to exchanges like these where idiotic ideas are exposed:
Really Jeffrey Lord?
Screw unity. Unity is a hollow, meaningless concept blurted out by trapos desperate to clean their hands of their dirty laundry.
Let's talk about issues. We all want better healthcare. But not all of us share the sentiment that hospitals should be under the PPP program. That's where our bias lies. Some want hospitals to be under the PPP program because that leads to better equipment. I'm biased towards the idea that hospitals should remain purely public because profit-driven operators won't take into account the value of positive externalities of healthy people in determining their revenue.
Let's embrace our biases; scrutinize and understand them. And maybe, just maybe, our politics won't be as fucked up.
And as I say that... MARTIN NIEVERA PA RIN!!!