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We Shouldn?t Lack the Principle of Balance

Regional Election Indonesia, We Shouldn?t Lack the Principle of Balance.

With the Indonesian regional election just around the corner on December 9, 2020, this month is being dubbed the most burning political month ever, despite the thread of COVID-19.

It is particularly true and logically acceptable considering the public reaction to the regional leader hopefuls during this campaign cycle on social media. Though certain camps spar in response to their adversary in a democratic manner, it is hapless that the current political discourse on social media is crammed with hoax.

Reading how people comment on the upcoming election posted on social media really has me shaking my head. Hoax has been the key to defining outsiders or anyone with dissimilar political preference. We may find that waves of hoaxes do not simply tell whoppers about the opposing camp, but also the debacle of fathoming the big picture of the issue.

I do not wish to dispute the individual political option heedless of their trivial logic, but surely, some perspective is needed. As a matter of fact, the flourishing hoax is inseparably bound to our inability to reach out to a balance.

We are in dire need of balance, not only concerning the political battle but for our overall life. Some reasons lie behind its significance.

First, the balance generates quality democracy. Our culture of politics easily see others’ mistake but cannot find ours, as the saying goes

“gajah di pelupuk mata tak tampak, semut di seberang lautan tampak” (an elephant on the eyelid cannot be seen, while an ant on the other side of the sea can).

Healthy and genuine democracy emphasises justice. We cannot do someone justice as we hoist the flag of our own excellence while striking the weakness of the opponent. Dispute on social media among netizens standing for and against candidates should not repudiate a major feature of justice: apply cover for both sides of perspectives and confess that each has his own downsides. Many are still struggling towards a behavioural balance.

Second, wisdom mushrooms in balance. Why do we unfriend someone on Facebook standing on our head for dissimilar political penchant? Is the distinction of notion compatible with breaking up with a friend? Such a pathetic virtual trend is a sign of declining wisdom. Frankly speaking, people find it hard to be prudent because they are not used to a common platform, which sets the scene for collaboration and respect. Addiction to a common platform is instrumental in trivializing a growing political divergence. Adhering to the common platform has us in balance.

I recall when I asked my students to organise discussions on music, literature, and sports with politicians of different parties being speakers in the last legislative election. Having evaluated the event, they learned that the politicians relaxed their political tension and enjoyed their warm discussion as to non-political matters. Music, literature, and sports, to mention just a few, greatly serve to eschew political dispute and tension. They attained balance.

Third, to be in balance means to be a person of relativeness. It is deplorable to a certain extent that political strife has brought about a broken friendship. I am slightly surprised to come across some of my friends choosing not to shake hands and say hello to one another, owing to different presidential candidates in the upcoming election.

Wow! Why on earth did we become so black and white until what is left is either friend or foe. This hails from extreme thought in that there is no room for compromise and second opinion. Opposite to this fallacy is the relative truth in the sense that “I’m right but could be wrong. On the other way around, you are wrong but could be right.” It makes us a person of relativeness.

The political distinction between friends should not be translated into political enmity. There must be a collective consciousness that political distinction is time-bound and spatial, while friendship is not limited to space and time. An election is seasonal, while social relation is throughout the age. This is particularly true in our country in which social capital is strongly rooted, such as gotong royong (communal work).

To all my friends with diverse political affiliation, let us compete politically in response to the election as a part of democracy but to also calm our minds and hearts in day-to-day actual life.

The writer is a lecturer at the Faculty of Humanities Andalas University, Padang

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