November 12, 2016
Americans voted a Real Estate Celebrity as POTUS—That’s Politics
by FMT Reader
After months of rallies and campaigns, banners and slogans, and countless trolling by both the Democrats and the Republicans, the United States voted for a real estate celebrity who has no political history whatsoever.
He is an eccentric businessman who gave ample opportunity for haters to hate, in every given situation, be it his electoral promises, choice of words, demeanour even his hair. To his haters, he was everything a president should never be.
But, eventually the election came and America took a stand. They wanted the eccentric businessman to lead them. And everyone wants to know why.
What was the sentiment that drove his supporters, a large number of Americans, to vote for him? He had no track record to prove his capacity as a powerhouse leader and no one knows what are his strategies to make America great again.
Yet, with such ambiguity, the people voted for him and made him their president. Very much like how Malaysians had voted for the same coalition party for 59 years, or 13 general elections to be precise.
While one may think that the election campaign was ugly, it is the aftermath that has turned out uglier. Protesters took to the streets to profess their dissatisfaction. They are angry and they do not want Trump to lead them.
The elections were rigged they say, Hillary won the popular vote they claim (which she did), the whole process was a joke they roar.
Another déjà vu for those of us in Malaysia. Will all these protests bring about a different outcome than it did in Malaysia? I sincerely don’t think so.
This is mainly because, when we protest, we don’t really have an end goal. We are angry, disappointed and we express ourselves. We feel our voices are being ignored and that sends us into a fit of rage. To me, that is all there is to street protests. We challenge a system that we so graciously put in place, a system that we are a part of.
The Americans had just proved their participation by casting their votes less than 48 hours before these protests.
This is an indication that people, Americans and Malaysians alike, are very much confused in their political and democratic objectives and they remain emotionally charged. People are still very much fueled by factors like race, religion and gender and these, when cleverly knitted into a web of fear and uncertainty, sadly will determine who gets their precious votes.
America has chosen its president. Social media can troll him as much as it wants. People who aren’t in favour of him can mock his policies, his hair, and his poor vocabulary all they want, but will it change anything “bigly”? Absolutely not!
Will it “bigly” change the outcome in the 2020 elections? Most probably it won’t either. Because racial sentiments, divide and rule policies, religion and gender supremacy still binds the mentality of the voters, the outcome will be the same, be it in America or in Malaysia.
Looking at America today feels exactly like looking at Malaysia during the last few general elections. Something that no one would have expected to happen did because the fundamentals have now become equal.
Democracy, in essence, is a system where the supreme power is vested on the people. A system that enables a people’s government by the people.
Thus, it is powered by the exact same energy that powers the people into voting. If race, religion, gender and creed supremacy is what drives one to pick one’s government, then that is exactly the kind of government one will end up with.
Malaysians can learn quite a bit from the American elections this time, or rather refresher lessons. The next time you walk your way to the polling booth, look for a government that can enhance your lives with policies beyond the shackles of religion, race, gender etc.
Look for policies that can propel the nation and all its people to greater heights.
Can’t find any? Then opt for a lesser, maybe even unknown evil. A lesser, unknown evil, in my opinion, is far better than a known evil, as I would have known the degree of “evil” that I’m dealing with and how much I can tolerate.
For the past 13 elections, we have elected a single party to run our country. We have always been led to believe that this is the party that works in the best interest of this country and its people.
Fifty-nine years have passed, why dispute that notion now? Well, the answer is that a generation of voters have changed since but the ideology still clings on to each and every one of us.
So, only when we free ourselves from these “restrictions”, can we truly look forward to an effective, neutral and inclusive government. But are we truly ready for the leap?
Maybe yes, maybe no. But it is a perspective worth pondering and we, Malaysians are all still left with a little bit more time to decide.
An FMT Reader.