Should you stop being friends with someone over differences in political views? A recent online thread explores this amid the never-ending slew of criticisms exchanged between supporters and critics of the government.
On a May 11 thread, Twitter user @undertwotrees expressed that dismissing friendship over political views was “fair.”
Unfriending someone over politics is only fair. Policies affect lives in the real world. And if a friend is willing to ignore the suffering of others brought about by her politics, then that tells us a lot about where her heart is. These people aren't worth keeping.
— ΑΛΔ (@undertwotrees) May 11, 2018
“This tweet is brought to you by a memory from a year ago. Facebook reminds me today of the non-friends I’ve lost through their unwavering support of fascist regimes,” the user added.
The viral post, which was also shared on Reddit, gathered mixed reactions, mostly saying that people shouldn’t be too worked up over politics alone.
Why it’s ok to “unfriend”
Twitter user Joseph Raymond Sim argued in his reply that he “might as well unfriend anyone” who opposed his views, and questioned what type of opinions is worth dismissing friends over.
To clarify his point, @undertwotrees added two days later that he was not telling people to let go of just anyone they disagree with, rather, it’s “perfectly fine” to dismiss those who “degrade” or oppress the rights of others.
“I repeat: I’m not telling you what to do with your (e.g.) fascist-enabler friends. You get to decide on that. But hear me out when I say that unfriending over oppressive politics is perfectly fine. I have no regrets cutting off toxic relationships. Wala akong time diyan, okey?” the user explained.
Meanwhile, those who agreed aired that it’s hard if the people you disagree with on politics are your family members.
Can’t agree more. And how about family? I haven’t spoken to relatives and siblings for some time now. It’s because when they agree with the killings and didn’t mind them and cheered for them, they have also placed my own life at risk. They still can’t see that until now.
— Scottie Spuhghetti (@21HumaNist) May 11, 2018
In Reddit, one user who agreed with the post shared another interpretation, wherein dissent over issues is a “valid reason to end a friendship,” but should not be the only reason.
Divided nation on political views
The political perspective of Filipinos is mostly evident on social media with groups and accounts that are seemed to be divided solely between supporters and allies of the government.
Since Duterte’s presidency, many Filipinos believe that there are only two sides—the Liberal Party supporters or so-called “dilawan” and the allies of the administration or members of the Diehard Duterte Supporters.
If I don’t share your beliefs, it doesn’t mean I’m stupid. I am entitled to think for myself after all.
If I don’t support Duterte, it doesn’t mean I’m a YellowTard. I criticized Noynoy when he was president, that is after all, the very essence of democracy.
— Jay Beltran (@jay_beltran) May 24, 2018
A report last year cited US-based Freedom House findings that social media influencers were paid to operate fake accounts for either “supporting President Rodrigo Duterte or attacking his detractors.”
In the United States, cutting off ties with people over politics became common after the 2016 presidential election, based on a Washington Post report.
“Interestingly, the most common reason for unfriending someone over politics was not the content of their posts — it was because they were posting too much,” Leticia Bode wrote.
Interestingly, the people who would likely “unfriend” on social media over political disagreements are the most politically engaged ones, while it is “relatively rare” among the rest of the users.