At a time when political candidates and party supporters are busy digging into their opponents’ well-kept secrets and making the whole election process dark and dizzyingly unpleasant, there are also, although few and far between, some saving graces that sadly go unnoticed in the heat of the moment.
All’s not lost, fortunately.
Common forum can be a dynamic engagement, of course. Debates do not have to be so structured that the candidates and the political parties do not get space enough to breathe, to wheel out their development plans to the people. It is a frustration for both the party representatives and the voters who come to listen and understand the choices on the offer.
The four political parties have different dreams and promises for the nation. As Bhutanese, though, we have more common goals to work for than differences to count. In the many days that have brought us here, they have successfully exhibited their strengths and weaknesses. Voters know who and which party is being unreasonable with their promises. Lies and accusations have come out but the voters are treating them with fine-tooth comb. More such theatrics will unfold in the days until the nation goes to the poll to choose the government and the opposition.
Some hold the view that hard and divisive politics is the sign of democratic culture taking roots in our society. But then, for us to understand the development and maturity of democratic culture, there is a need to put the reality in the right perspective. In a sense, we were deliberately, albeit cautiously, nurturing democratic principles since the early days of the nation’s planned development. It is thanks to this our courage to err on the side of caution that we are today a more united and forward-looking nation.
However, new political realities are putting these wealth of our nation at stake. Whatever the case, no matter how many more political parties come to contest the elections, we can ill afford to divide our society with lies, threats, and divisive messages to sink in. That’s why offices with the mandate to intercept and address the emerging problems should be more proactive. Otherwise, the people will lose confidence in the office, leaving the system wide open to chaos and criticisms.
A few days ago, the four political representatives of Athang-Thedtsho constituency in Wangdue were seen trying to dampen the heat created by politics by sitting together for a late lunch after forum. So did the candidates in Paro. The people appreciate such small display of greater civic responsibility. We read it as candidates trying to heal the wounds created by divisive politics rather than leaving it to fester and rot.