‘I was cheated!!!’

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

I came across a video of a presidential candidate telling his supporters that they have to be extra vigilant in the coming elections because of the possibility of cheating. The candidate emphasized that his supporters should never allow this, or they would be robbed of their victory yet again. In the last 10 years, the “I was cheated” claim has gained popularity among losers not just in the Philippines but also in the US, Europe and Asian countries. For many defeated politicians, the simplest way to justify their defeat is to claim that they were cheated because it exempts them from facing the reality of public rejection.

However, claims and excuses that “I was cheated” are no longer just a mere justification in the real world of ugly or dirty politics all over the world. In the last 10 years, the “I was cheated” statement has become more of a fire starter or a way to get unsuspecting or fanatical supporters to protest and undertake civil disturbance all over the world. The calls for vigilance scenario is cause for concern because it is the first step or the “Just in case I lose” option, towards plan B which is followed by mental preconditioning that is done by people and operators who will do everything and anything in order to win an election. Once defeat becomes irreversible, the next step is to challenge or discredit the elections, the poll body and the eventual winner.

If you want a concrete example of this sort of disruptive politics all you have to do is look up, watch and listen to what Donald Trump did during the last US presidential elections and you will see all the familiar lines, accusations and ultimately how he stirred up the misguided emotions and misplaced passion of thousands which, according to authorities and political experts, is what led to the January 6 revolt or attack of the US Capitol and Congress. Donald Trump repeatedly rejected and refused election results in many states in the US and kept saying that he was being cheated. Once the election reached the final accounting of state votes, Trump called out to his supporters to pressure then Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results. Trump was quoted as telling his supporters that if he lost the elections, his supporters would no longer have a country. Beneath all that rabid rhetoric, certain ultraright groups marched or drove to Washington, DC and gathered a large crowd and stormed the State Capitol. The attack was not a simple rally or protest march of disgruntled supporters; it was designed to block or delay the eventual proclamation of the winners of the US presidential and vice presidential elections – namely Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Tragically, things turned really ugly and really violent and became an act of insurrection, arson and ultimately an attack on US democracy.

To this day there is an on-going “January 6 investigation” where many ordinary Americans who thought they were being vigilant and standing up for democracy have been arrested, charged and convicted and sentenced to go to jail. They were all responding to Donald Trump’s call for vigilance, but the irony is that Trump was nowhere near the scene of the insurrection, which is now referred to as the scene of the crimes, in police parlance. Testimonies from Trump’s Cabinet claim that Trump refused to call off his supporters until late in the afternoon when people and the media began to pin responsibility for the attack on Trump. Only then did Trump tell the attackers to go home peacefully. Trump was impeached for his non-action and is still trying to fight off legal action related to the matter.

You might say that the US and the Philippines are two different countries and cultures. Sorry to burst your bubble but all you have to do is ask your internet and tech-savvy children or apos to bring you up to speed or open up your Netflix account, go to Documentaries and view three very informative and eye opening documentaries, namely: The Great Hack, Social Dilemma and Ukraine On Fire.   Please, I am begging you, make time to watch all three documentaries because these will certainly make you 1000 percent more informed about politics and social media.

The Great Hack is a superb piece of investigative journalism that exposes how personal data of people in the US and UK that have been harvested on social media and other sources, were originally gathered for marketing purposes but have been transformed into formulas for political strategy to influence voters in the US and UK as well as election-related corruption and abuse of power that goes across countries and borders. Social Dilemma follows along the same path about how social media was used by Keyboard Warriors and influencers to create class, colors and social conflicts aimed at dividing people in different countries into polarized distinct groups in order to manipulate their political views. Ukraine On Fire is also a MUST WATCH because it shows how outside forces and governments directly influence the politics of smaller nations. Particularly interesting is how certain features or activities occur in societies when civil disturbance or change of leadership is being instigated. Watching Ukraine On Fire will teach you so much about the history of the region, Russia’s role and influence and how foreign governments have conspired with local groups to cause disruption, civil disturbance and regime change all over the world.

The similarities among countries, especially the US and the Philippines, became very apparent during the 2016 elections when social media groups and troll farms grew exponentially, accompanied by rabid and hate filled messaging and when political colors gained emphasis not for prominence but as a divisive tool in Philippine society. Please take notes when you watch all three documentaries because you will surely see how what happened in the US, Ukraine, Hong Kong, etc. Perhaps you will then say: I was cheated... from knowing the truth!                                                        



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