Wenceslao: Ignorant influencers

With Bongbong Marcos at the helm, I actually thought much of what liberal democracy is about will vanish. After all, Bongbong is the son and namesake of the formerly hated dictator, Ferdinand Sr. The lack of enough competence is expected. But Bongbong could not be identified fully with his predecessor, especially in terms of demeanor. Even Sara Duterte is not iron-handed like many expected the daughter of Digong would be.

But the right-wing continues to be dominant as far as politics is concerned. This mirrors much of what is happening in the world today. Former US president Donald Trump is enjoying a resurgence of sorts and many people are supporting the discredited Kyrie Irving, who exhibited a dose of anti-Semitism in his recent actions. Even the Democrats are again on the defensive in US politics.

But liberal democrats are seemingly recovering from their debacles. The other face of the recent Marcos win is Leni Robredo who is proving that she can be an opposition symbol although a more pragmatic one. I still have to hear Bongbong’s policies being subjected to the strictest of scrutiny, which is good. The honeymoon is still ongoing into the second year of the Bongbong Marcos presidency. Despite the odds, it was a calming first year under Marcos.

Liberal democrats should, of course, learn how to fight back under the present circumstances. They have been slow to move under the current changed environment where social media is drowning the voice of the traditional media. In US basketball, for example, “new media” has become the by-word of former and current players who have become active in social media. Traditional media like Stephen Smith and Skip Bayless are being challenged by players and former players who have become popular because of their podcasts. With the voice given to them, the environment in the spread of information has changed drastically. Traditional media has been slow to respond to that.

Consider the case of Irving, who promoted an anti-Semitic book and the views of a conspiracy theorist in his social media accounts. For a while, liberal democrats thought such views had already been safely buried in the past. But the far right, helped by the current technological advances, are already enjoying a resurgence. Note that conspiracy theorists were still able to resurrect the already discredited notion that the earth is flat. No wonder the views of Adolf Hitler have gained new adherents. One can now be popular and ignorant while becoming an influencer at the same time.

But more and more people are fighting back. The fight for decency in social media is continuing and I am sure things will settle down in the end. I initially thought the battle against trolls and the ignorant would be easy, but all of these have gotten complicated because the effort by liberal democrats to retake control of the current discourse has hit a snag, especially with the richest people in the world, like Elon Musk, joining the fray.