06 October 2019

Options galore for the disenchanted


People are good. Even bad people are good. They don’t think they are bad and they do things to make others believe they are good. In short, there are few wrongdoers in this world. This is why, when politics is the subject at hand, those offering comment talk as though they are the most sincere, most just, most democratic, most fair and most principled people on earth.  

How do they do this? Well, they can be selective. They can be myopic. They can look ‘good’ by painting others as ‘bad’. There are all kinds of mechanisms available to paint oneself as being virtuous. 

At the same time there really are decent people. Honest, if innocent, citizens, who want the rules fixed so that wrongdoing is not possible, efficiency is enhanced and overall freedoms and life chances improved. I believe there were more than a handful of such people who honestly believed that those who pledged yahapalanaya were serious about and capable of delivery. It didn’t take long for that innocent balloon to get pricked. 

Nepotism. Vindictiveness. Corruption. Cronyism. Outright theft. Kickbacks. Political patronage. You name it. We had it from almost Day One of the Yahapalana regime led by Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe. Naturally those who banked on ‘real change’ and were short-changed were and are disappointed. Even those who were acutely aware of the track records of the yahapalanists they had voted for were and are disappointed. For difference reasons. They knew it was all poppycock. Their objective was to defeat the Rajapaksas and keep them out of power. That’s where their disappointment comes from: the fear that the Rajapaksas may very well make a comeback. 

Disappointment and fear notwithstanding, they are not tearing their hair over whom to vote for in the upcoming election. ‘They’ meaning the born again democrats, funded voices, candlelight ladies and others masquerading as lovers of humankind when in fact such garbs hardly cover their deep green skins.  Some of them may talk of supporting the JVP but that’s a fake that’s hard to sell. Simply, their antipathy to the previous regime is clear and so strong that they would not back a horse that’s destined to be a distant third. Sajith is their man. 

So what about the truly decent people who in innocence and hope (perhaps) voted for Maithripala on January 8, 2015? Now, shed of illusions, wiser therefore and disappointed, they have two options. Give up on elections as a mechanism that is of any use when it comes to obtaining real change or else use their votes to send a message to one and all. Simply, they could dismiss the mainstream parties and their candidates and cast their votes to persons with better track records and more wholesome programs which actually address the issues that the yahapalanists did nothing about and their predecessors didn’t care about. 

They know now that change takes long coming. They know now that there are no quick fixes. They know the road is long and strewn with obstacles. They are, in other words, wiser for the experience, more tempered even, and probably going to be more judicious when it comes to political investment.

And their choices? Let’s quickly list those they cannot vote for (we are talking about the truly decent people who want freedom for all, a secure nation for all, resources protected and futures that are wholesome). Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, OUT. Sajith Premadasa, OUT. Anura Kumara Dissanayake, OUT. They are all guilty of various wrongdoings, by omission or commission. We are talking about candidates who are in comparison untainted. 

For obvious reasons I will leave out Rev Battaramulle Seelarathana Thero, a perennial also-ran, and A.S.P. Liyanage. So we are left with (in alphabetical order), Nagananda Kodituwakku, Rohan Pallewatte and Mahesh Senanayake.  The first two announced their intentions early enough while the last is the choice of the National People’s Movement, an organization that has advocated systemic change and which has worked tirelessly for months to draft a program of action and find a good candidate.   

Can any of them win? And if not can any of them or all of them together secure enough votes to impact the outcome? I am not going to answer such questions for answers to such questions are not sought by those who want real change but those who have resigned themselves to the sustainable development of the status quo and/or have invested their emotions on one or another set of crooks, incompetents or jokers. 

The innocents. The decent. The true lovers of this nation, it’s people and resources. The truly invested in wholesome futures. These deserve much better than be harangued with questions such as ‘will he/she win and if not, what’s the whole point?’

The ‘whole point’ is that politics is a lengthy affair. There are ups and downs. Bends in the road. Roadblocks. The accosting by brigands. And yet there are no short cuts. It’s a tough road to walk on and only the decent and determined should undertake the journey.  

The decent and determined have floundered in disappointment and disillusionment. They are  therefore excellently placed to tread an illusion-free path. They can forget Sajith. They can forget Gota. They can forget Anura Kumara Dissanayake. They can take a fresh look at the freshest faces in the fray: Nagananda Kodituwakku, Rohan Pallewatte and Mahesh Senanayake.  To those who do so, known and unknown to me, I say ‘I respect you Sir/Madam; you have refused to poison this earth, refused to celebrate poisons and poisoners; you water this earth and something surely will bloom someday!’ 

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