Democracy is for the best. Democracy is political top-level sport.
Indonesia , the populous and rapidly developing regional super power with a past of authoritarian rule, is on a daring experimental democratic mission ever since ’98.
So it’s actually on a mission of rendering top-level sport. Which requires serious training and efficient organization. And loads of insight, fitness and sophistication.
The other day I read this factual analysis “Religion and Race still key to Indonesian presidency” by Salim Osman in the Jakarta Post. After balancing arguments pro and contra the article’s final paragraph is: The Constitution does not stipulate the race and religion of the presidential aspirant, but it is unlikely that the Muslim majority will give their votes to a non-Muslim and a non-Javanese in the race for the presidency.
I hope the author is wrong. Because though it’s pretty insignificant if candidates running for political office improperly use religion and ethnicity in their campaigns to discredit their opponents, it’s essentially different and potentially something of devastating political dimensions, if those criteria are decisive in the perception of the electorate.
So if that’s the state of mind in the public domain, if Indonesians actually define themselves primarily by their religion and by their ethnicity rather then by their nationality, my conclusion is that the project of the nation’s founders has failed so far.
So if that’s the state of mind in the public domain, if extra-political motives still pretty much decide crucial political decisions, my conclusion is that Indonesian democracy is still in it’s very early, fragile stages.
Perhaps it’s not surprising. The nation is young.
It’s very annoying though. It could mean that the cement of the state is still dangerously wet. That diversity is dominating unity. That the building is still in real and acute jeopardy of collapsing.
So, young democrats, let’s slam some additional national sophistication in excessive pious and excessive tribal heads. And let’s go on slamming till all of the civil population defines itself primarily as Indonesian.
So,young democrats, let’s slam some additional secular sense in whatever stubborn political head shows. And let’s go on slamming till the electorate got sufficient democratic knowledge to distinguish relevant from non-relevant, the political arena from spiritual arenas.
And let’s slam core democratic ethics in the elected representatives’, mayors’, governors’ and ministers’ professional minds in the process.