Wednesday, April 22, 2009

As A Country

My aisle-seat co-flyer made this remark to me on the way back from Penang a few weeks ago. We were talking politics and government and he mentioned, in some semi-theological way, that whoever's in the hot seat will ultimately represent what we, the Malaysian people, want.

No matter how many people fire away at the present administration, the present Cabinet depicts us. No matter how many vote for the Opposition, whatever majority the government has is a mandate given by the entire nation. No matter what our civil grouses, our MPs' are an extension of who we are.

Consider the objections:

  • "Money politics rule the day" - but this only underscores the fact that politicians cannot win without the business community, and who would the country's industries rely on? Not its voting / consuming public? (Raja Petra Kamarudin makes a similar, if more bombastic, point!) 
  • "Incumbents still win because the rural, 'less-educated' or mainstream-media influenced people are still voting for them" - but hmm doesn't this sound like an insult? "You only vote X because X has blinded you to its corruption"; are we suggesting that the majority of voters cannot think for themselves? Or, worse still, are we saying that to support the incumbent is a sign of _________ {fill in your favourite political putdown}? Or could it reflect an ungenerous lack of imagination in that we cannot fathom how a politically informed and civil-minded person (let alone good Christians!) could ever vote contrary to the party we'd select?

In a word, isn't it simpler and truer to say that our leaders are there because we AS A COUNTRY (warts and all) want them to be there?

I would actually say: Not quite so simple. But nevertheless, the issue is still worth exploring, especially in line with the idea of a "thinking public" (a term someone introduced to me today, ostensibly referring to those who 'know' how manipulative and controlling the ones in power are - as opposed to the "non-thinking" public which doesn't?).

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