TENSIONS in family gatherings this holiday season may transpire because of heated political discussions seven months after the 2022 national elections, experts told the Varsitarian.

That is because humans are inherently political beings, Asst. Prof. Louie Benedict Ignacio, chair of the UST Department of Sociology, said.

“Everything we do […] is social and political. Maybe what’s slightly unique to Filipinos is that our politics is merged with other sectors and vice versa. [W]e see politics in everything we do to the extent that we feel that we engage with politics outside of elections,” he said.

Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, could be much more passionate about politics.

“It would not surprise me at all if I would hear members of the Gen Z arguing with their family members and friends due to political differences,” Asst. Prof. Dennis Coronacion, chair of the UST Department of Political Science, said.

Thus, not only lechon, hamon, lumpiang shanghai and fruit salad could be expected at the noche buena table, but also a clash of differing political views.

Students from various universities shared how conversations with their relatives had a long-lasting impact on their relationships, which could threaten the holiday vibe.

Mark Acido, a communication research major at the University of the Philippines (UP), said he was uncomfortable during family gatherings, where he was mocked for his political stance.

“[T]hey are just not willing to listen, even to their own son,” he lamented.

Keyo Marty Romero, a communications major at the Holy Angel University in Pampanga, said he takes political choices “seriously” and does not mind “cutting off” relatives and friends supporting politicians with a poor track record.

“I believe the political choice is a reflection of one’s moral values,” he said. “Be it a friend or a family member, if they support people that commit crimes, propagate disinformation and violate human rights, then I don’t mind cutting them off.”

‘No politics’

But some are just zipping their mouths on politics to not dampen the holiday spirit.

Acido plans on not opening discussions that could lead to political topics. So as Katherine Joy Cariño, a student with irregular schedule (SWIS) from the Faculty of Arts and Letters, who formed a rule with her cousins called “no politics” to keep the warmth of the family.

“We decided to adjust by being silent whenever the adults talked about politics,” she said. “[W]e decided to set aside our political differences and be polite towards them instead.”

Commenting on a UP play entitled “The Reconciliation Dinner,” political scientist Cleve Arguelles said families should learn how to “talk” rather than just “converse.”

“We can’t do politics together if we have yet to learn how to listen and talk to each other—sincerely and with empathy,” he said on his Facebook page.

‘Puso sa puso’

Ignacio said that while people cannot completely separate politics from family affairs, values should always remain intact.

“We value politics, decisions made by other people, and decisions that will affect us and our future, but we value family in the same way, or sometimes even greater,” he stressed.

“We can maintain our stand and express our beliefs without jeopardizing our relationship with others.”

Davin Frialde, a political science junior at the University, believes that while tensions are inevitable, political discussions in the family are vital and may pave the way for a progressive society.

“[I]f one aims to have a populace that actively participates in nation building, these discussions at the dinner table create a nation that is aware to the ills of society, and creating that environment where one can speak freely,” he said.

Frialde added that relatives should not be treated because they have their own capacities to accumulate information.

“I guess shoving people’s knowledge is like alienating people because it makes them feel that they know nothing. Talking with them ‘tao sa tao, puso sa puso’ creates a safe space for them to engage in discussion,” he said.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.