Social media broadly attracts an audience in Sri Lanka, that reflects the societal culture, namely of ridiculing someone we envy, rather than praising them for what they have achieved. That kind of behavior is also reflective in the massive negative campaigning of the Presidential Election that is wholly biased towards character assassination and speculation, but little analysis given to evaluating the vision propounded and means to reaching that vision.
Much of this as I repeat as the heading is because we are hardwired that way, a particularly brutal characteristic of Sri Lankans, that have stifled creativity, advancement and achievement, instead overloaded with envy, backstabbing, false accusations especially in bringing down able people and ideas as being somehow anti Sri Lankan, when the whole basis of racism and division that is propounded is what is anti Sri Lankan. In my opinion, social media has given vent to some base allegations of people who are so racist and bigots, they can never be convinced they are!
I shudder to think, how they can let go, of desire or feeling in Buddhist Philosophy as they are simply consumed by hate against a person, or what they stand for instead of understanding their point of view and articulating rationally why you disagree. In this process, it becomes clear how false some ideas are, and can be torn to shreds when exposed.
We are concentrating in this election on a subject called Security, that frankly is not the major concern in Sri Lanka as it is security of food, of the ability to go on the road without being killed or ability to say what you want are not going to be secure. It is also a false security. After all more than those who died in the Easter bombing die on the roads every month, for example and we are doing prescious little to reduce that carnage, and we are trying to fund more security apparatus, instead of securing the hearts and minds of the people of Sri Lanka to secure the nation from dissension.
I can’t think of a more decisive election, where people could end up being so insecure they will leave the island in drovers, nullifying the claims made about ensuring security. They are only going to help a few people feel more secure at the expense of the majority who will be left to their own devices.
It is a story of smoke and mirrors. Like I wrote a tag line of my creation, “What you see isn’t, what you don’t see is killing you – water food and air for example!”
Even well educated people expound the most ridiculous stories to back up their arguments. One such that I discovered today, was attributing the development on Galle Face to Gotabhaya, as the initiator, where land was sold to foreigners, part of the former Army HQ. Why then is one of the tag lines of the GR campaign to review assets sold to foreigners? It is simply a mischievous election gimmick used for political gain, by pretending a holier than thou mentality. No one is free from those allegations.
So instead of taking this negative line, they could have turned it the other way, by saying we did it to maximize the development potential of our country by selling the Rights to the Port City to the Chinese, for the long term benefit of SL.
In this game of “who can fool the public more” kind of politics it is the hapless voter that falls on the way side. We must realize that rogues of the worst order are even on the stage of the two principle candidates and our system does not offer a real third force, as either of the principle two have fooled the voters that the choice is between them or us, and we are cleaner, better, and capable of delivering.
The whole debate is fraught with promises that can never be kept, taking extreme sides, to secure your base, similar to how Trump won the rural voter by frightening him that it was only him who could improve their lives from an international conspiracy against USA, by making America Great Again.
Of course it worked like a dream as the people fell for it, but the deliverer of the message is the biggest culprit of using the ideals he is championing against and there in lies the dilemma faced, as only one side is seen by the voter, not necessarily the true identity.
For example, we may see Sajith as a people person going to deliver, but on the other hand he may be in reality merely a pawn in some other persons game, put out there to fool the masses.
Similarly, we are told GR is his own man, who has a vision different to MR, and will be able to implement it by weeding out the rogues and rif raff that inhabit the platform. He may succeed, he may not, we are merely taking a gamble that he will.
In this, any past misdeeds and allegations of criminal conduct, we hope can be laid to rest till the person is out of office, not to haunt his office, and prevent his ability to deliver on his promises. These issues then ask more questions than they answer and both parties have selected questionable candidates to deliver a new order!
We should return to our personal gut feeling, and hope we are right in our choice. If we feel neither will or can deliver, then you choose someone else, instead of tactical voting but I believe the tactical vote is still available if you use your second and third preference wisely.
This is where the teaching of the Buddha come to play. He has specifically said that when we do something we must do it for a purpose and an outcome we expect. So why can’t we use the same principle in making choices at elections? We then have a conscience that we gave our vote, no matter how anyone else did theirs, to the person we believed could deliver on our vision, or at least as the least bad of the whole bunch of thieves, if we think that way.
We should follow our best instincts, not be etched to a particular color for the rest of our lives. In short we must all be swing or independent voters, who carefully weigh the pros and cons in making our own personal judgment free from coercion, another terrible matter in Sri Lankan politics. After all our vote is secret, and we should be able to give that to who we want, not what someone else directs us to.
The most important point in making our choices, is to use your own experience of life that has taught you lessons and follow your gut instinct, you can then sleep well knowing you were not influenced by anyone else.
The often heard evaluation which is sad in SL is that we say who we vote for is the least bad option, while we have not even evaluated most of the candidates partly because some have convinced us we will waste our voter by so doing, and others point to the need of tactical voting to keep their devil from being elected.
One other very important point I would consider is the overall benefit to the country, which may not help you, in fact by voting for your candidate you, yourself could suffer, for the greater good. One example here was the Land Reform carried out in the early 1970’s where some of the proponents lost a lot of their own land in the process.
I don’t believe most voters put the country’s interests at heart, and only look at what is perceived as best, that is in fact it may not be, but the fake news they follow may give them that impression. So the mandate is grossly illogical based on falsity.
In summary, I would remind that the GUT instinct is the only way to go, no other course of action will you be able to sleep at night with. Don’t fret about the result. That is simply out of your hands.