Politics divide people, leaders unite people

Strawberry Generation



The previous post made by Darryl introduced a new term to me: Inclusive Politics.

My immediate thoughts were, “Wouldn’t that be sort of an oxymoron?” No offense to Darryl who coined it, but politics, in my mind, is necessarily divisive.

That’s the truth about politics and power struggle. You divide the people against your political opponents so that they will lean to your side, giving you the power to lead them. It is only when power is given to leaders, then we pray that leaders have what it takes to lead people to goodness, and perhaps greatness. Inclusiveness will be one of such human greatness.

So when the PAP Minister (albeit the Minister for Communcations), said we shouldn’t politicise when we criticise the Government, I have to hold back my more cynical self from giving a friendly sneer. They are a political party after all. But I think there has already been enough eggs thrown in that direction so I wouldn’t belabour the point.

To be fair to Darryl, who isn’t a politician, the concept of inclusive politics expounded by him isn’t an attempt to hoodwink anyone into believing that politics can be inclusive. I would like to believe it stemmed from a deeper desire for Singaporeans to not be divided by political lines.

We all feel it.  No matter how moderate, reasonable I set out to be in presenting my view or opinion on a matter, if I vaguely hint that I’m on the side of the Lightnings, there is a need to mentally prepare myself, to grab the an imaginary steel armour to shield myself from the tirade that will follow. “Don’t you know it’s just all wayang??” (Which by the way is the phrase of choice, when they fail to convincingly argue against my logic).

Democracy suspends when people are bashing the Government. You are not entitled to have your own opinion unless your opinion agrees with dissenters. If you persist, you are just pathetic brainwashed idiot.

So when he said “inclusive politics”, it was perhaps more of a cry to the people to please exercise some humanity and embrace the different spectrum of people around us. And look at issues more objectively.

My only grouse with that is, this same guideline should also apply to today’s incumbent. The dissenters may be loud and rude and pain in the ass. But for a very long time, they didn’t get any attention at all. People resort to “violence” when they don’t have anything else.

In fact, by dividing the people into people who seemingly “politicise” because they spoke in disagreement, and people who seemingly do not because they spoke in agreement, the ruling party is also guilty of polarising the community into “reasonable” and “unreasonable” people.

I fundamentally believe, everyone is reasonable if we listen hard enough.  As our leaders, my hope is that they have the will to do so, and to gain the trust of the people again. Only then, can we build consensus and unite the people of Singapore.


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