That is pretty much all i set out to say. if the government wins a two thirds majority in the next parliamentary elections there is no saying what they’ll do. Sri Lanka is already pretty constitutionally messed up as it is; there is large scale injustice, there is rampant corruption and abuse of power. And if you’re poor and or without influence, there is nothing much you can say or do about it.
Here’s a few things that are wrong with our ‘democracy’.
The public, ‘statesmanship’ and crumbling institutions
The ruling polity feed the masses with rhetoric ringing with patriotism. And the masses fall for it to their own detriment. We lack a knowledgeable voter base (this is not the the same as literate voter base); they feed on propaganda and false promises. And little attention is given to what is commonly known as common sense or rational outcomes.
Politicians sling mud at each other, their predecessors and their grandmothers in attempts at trying to prove their suitability to public office. Most campaigning time is spent dredging up dirt on the opposition and loudly proclaiming ones own sainthood to the people. Absurd excuses for past mistakes are offered and these are gobbled up with no critical analysis to determine their plausibility. If America has its moral issues to distract its voter base, we have our mudslinging.
The media needs to focus more on giving an unbiased, practical, policy oriented viewpoint of politics to the common man instead of recycling rhetoric put forward by those in the government. The judiciary needs to grow some balls, assert itself and try to restore some dignity to a legal system that has all but disintegrated. The police needs to be made independent of governmental manipulation. Institutional structural reforms on a big scale may be needed.
But for all this to happen, we need honest, selfless and altruistically motivated leaders (cue laughter). But since we don’t have them, and it looks like we never will, how can we ensure that one party won’t take up absolute power and run the risk of going 1983 again on our already frail ‘democracy’? One, and the only feasible, way is through a balance of opposing forces.
Striking some balance
But right now, we barely have an opposition to speak of. Ranil maybe hogging his seat with what leverage he has left while the party suffers but there is really no one qualified enough to take over. Personally i think Sajith Premadasa would be a good choice but im inclined to agree with some who say that he is still not ready. People like Karu are strongly on the side of the government anyway and lets face it, the new SLFP Mahajana wing doesn’t exactly scream outrage under Mangala Samaraweera.
The political opposition has created a general impression of being cowed and trodden down upon. This is largely helped by the attitude with which the government treats it; shrugging off its feeble protests with almost contemptuous disdain. They have failed to assert themselves in the public eye, and they are going to lose as a result, along with what is left of the rule of law in this country.
So it is in all our interests that the opposition gets its act together, even if we do support the government to begin with. It needs to fight back and assert itself because without it, we lose the last vestiges of even the illusion of a democracy in Sri Lanka.