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OPINION: The politicization and radicalization of caring

OPINION: The politicization and radicalization of caring

  • If you care about something, that’s great. If you care about something to the point that you’re willing to fight for it, it gets dangerous
The politicization and radicalization of caring header nolisoliph

Everything is political. From the brands you support, the people you follow online, what you think about the most seemingly “mundane” topics, all of it can be political—or at least politicized. 

If you’ve ever taken a college philosophy class, one of the first things you learn is man is a social animal. The complete quote from Aristotle goes: “Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual.”

By principle, human beings are part of a society, and being in a society dictates that we have to care about other people. Studies also show that caring for others can trigger the same physiological response as happiness, boost self-esteem and might even help you live longer.

If we look at all the major activism movements in history, like women’s suffrage, desegregation and the labor movement, people marched because they cared.

These days, even the baseline human act of caring about other people can be perceived as a radical political act. 

Sometimes (in alarmingly increasing frequency), caring about others can even cost your life. 

The perils of caring

Activism can be an extremely divisive topic—but the bottom line is basically people fighting for what they care about. By definition, activism is “the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.” If we look at all the major activism movements in history, like women’s suffrage, desegregation and the labor movement, people marched because they cared. 

They cared about women’s voices in the nation, they fought for their personhood to be recognized as equal to and not less than and they fought for the humane treatment of people who go to work. 

If you look at the majority of the activists, lawyers and journalists who have been killed, arrested or red tagged, the common denominator is caring. 

On March 7, nine activists were killed in a series of police and military raids in the Batangas, Rizal Province and Cavite areas dubbed “Bloody Sunday.” While the plan was just to serve search warrants for “loose firearms” and “illegal explosives,” it turned into a deadly face-off between government forces and the nine activists who lost their lives that day. 

Prior to Bloody Sunday, these activists either led or were involved in organizations that fought for the rights of farmers, fishermen, the right to housing and environmental justice. 

With journalists and lawyers, it would be easy to say that they were killed in the line of duty. They were. But it’s important to remember that their profession predicates that they care about something. For the most part, lawyers care about justice and their clients and journalists about transparency and the truth. 

If you break it down to the bare bones of things, people have literally died just because they cared about something. 

The 9-year-old boy clammed up to a question he had been asked too many times already: What did you see? He didn’t want to talk about it, he said, because it made him feel “sad.”

Posted by on Friday, March 12, 2021

They were most likely bullied, threatened and intimidated by agents acting on behalf of the people who hold power in order to silence them. And then they were ruthlessly executed. 

For most activists and people who are vocal about their beliefs, caring about others by demanding action from the government has become an express ticket to getting red tagged.

So what?

As a country, we cannot progress without caring about those in most need. Corruption, inaction and the lack of basic human decency that this administration seems to never run out of is all rooted in the fact that they don’t really care about us. What they might care about is their personal interests, holding on to power and keeping the systems that put them there intact.

If they cared, there would have been mass testing since the onset of the pandemic (which we still don’t have, by the way). If they cared, public utility drivers wouldn’t have been out begging on the streets in the middle of ECQ for money so they could buy what they needed to survive. If they cared, the number of people going hungry during the pandemic wouldn’t have doubled versus pre-pandemic times. 

If they cared, less people would have died. 

Personally, I have no solutions to offer. But I will say this: Just because the government doesn’t care about us the way that they should, doesn’t mean we should follow suit. We need to remember that aside from voting in the coming elections and keeping the pressure on this administration’s dismal handling of the pandemic, we can’t stop caring about each other. 

Call your friends, donate to charitable causes that need assistance if you can, keep using your voices to fight for what you believe in. Make it known that we care.

Now more than ever, we need to help each other and make sure we make it out of this pandemic (and this government) alive. © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.