“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” Winston Churchill
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Days or weeks after the May 9, 2016 polls, Mar Roxas, Rodrigo Duterte, Jejomar Binay, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and Grace Poe will greet each other when they meet accidentally in the airports, hotel lobbies, government offices, and other public places.
Let bygones be bygones. Let’s now put the furor whipped up by intense politicking behind us and move on, they will gamely tell each other.
Life must go on. Live another day. Laugh and the world will laugh with us. Cry and we cry alone.
How about their followers? Some of them are also currently at each other’s throats, bitterly and violently.
Others have burned their bridges; some have declared Armageddon.
Friendships shattered permanently because of partisan politics.
“Magbiro sa lasing, huwag sa bagong gising” (play jokes on a drunk, not with someone who just woke up from a sleep) was a popular but succinct warning given us in jest by friends in the Philippines.
The caveat is loud and clear: it’s easy to handle a drunken master than a person whose temper can’t be tamed even by a dose of spirit of ammonia.
This goes also to the two warring camps in the blue and red corners in this election season: the fanatics and the fans.
The rift among supporters of candidates in the May 9 presidential and local elections has gone from bad to worse that the warning level has been optimized to “(you can) argue with fans, (but) shun the fanatics.”
Some people find it more healthy and lively to converse with a fan of a particular candidate and more risky and deadly to engage a fanatic in a debate.
A fan is merely an aficionado or admirer, while a fanatic is a person who is zealously enthusiastic for some cause, especially in religion and now politics.
A fan can afford to smile, relax and understand the standpoint of another person. A fanatic is always seething with anger, reluctant to admit his shortcomings, and is willing to kill or even die for his candidate.
A fan likes or admires a certain candidate because the candidate amuses and makes him happy.
A fanatic is a fan to the point that he is obsessed with the candidate he is a of and he might even try to hurt someone who is not a fan or is a fan of a rival.
From round-the-table intellectual discussions among friends to heated debates in the coffee shops, barber shops, including the social media, fans and fanatics clash like warriors in the Battle of Arbela.
While it’s not yet certain who will win the electoral contest, both the fans and fanatics should slow down and refrain from releasing hurting words, or throwing verbal expletives and insults that’s hard to heal and difficult to forget.
Jose Mari Chan has a good suggestion: “Can we just stop and talk a while?”