What if your Political Beliefs becomes your Religion?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jayqueue/163798580/

OK, we are so close to the Sri Lankan presidential election 2019, just a few hours to the election day.

This blog post is not written to support or attack one specific presidential candidate. That does not mean that I am a so-called “neutral” person; I also have my political view, which many accept and reject. This medium post shares my observations and my opinion regarding social media usage and political propaganda around it.

Supporter vs Neutral vs Devotee

We can divide the voters into three segments; they are supporters, neutral persons, and devotees. A supporter is always praising the good things done by the group/party that he/she supports and also attacks the opposition when they do any bad thing. This person will not express any view when there is something wrong done by the group/party that he/she supports. At the same time, this person will be silent when the opposition does a good.

A neutral person is always praising if any party or group does anything good. At the same time, this person also attacks if any group/party does anything bad. But, IMO there is no someone called a neutral person. Any voter has their own political view and belief. The only thing is this person will not engage in discussions in public forums by supporting or attacking a party/group.

Next, the most important and interesting category; “Devotee”. People belong to this category are always defend the group/party which he believes. A devotee will not criticize the bad thing that their master (or party) did; they always defend and take examples from the opposition to defend it.

All of you came across different kinds of people who belong to one of the above three categories (you can do a self-analysis). Being a supporter or being a so-called “neutral” person is acceptable in a civilized community, but devotees are so harmful to society. I have come across many posts, and hatred spread towards the people who have different opinions, and it is unbelievable. This clearly shows that his/her political beliefs become their religion. They are not ready to question, argue or listen to different opinions because they get hurt when they hear something bad/allegation about their master/god.

I am a firm believer that any religious view should be questioned without blindly following it. You will only understand the truth and enjoy it when you understand things to the core. This is the same for political devotees as well. It is well explained in the below figure too. Found it on Facebook btw.

Understanding the People’s need

You can divide the voters from another perspective as well; they are traditional voters and new-age voters. Traditional voters are the people that we call “kepuwath kola” or “kepuwath nil”. We cannot change this category and don’t spend time changing them. You will not even have a 1% of positive chance for that.

New-age voters are the people who influence and deciding factor in any election. This category of voters has various needs and expectations. Simply, a person who is not sure about the next meal looks for some basic needs such as food, work, etc. But, a person who has covered his/her basic needs and looks for esteem or self-actualization needs. People’s needs differ from person to person. If you like to know more about this, then please have a quick look at my previous medium post on “Maslows hierarchy of needs”.

These needs play an essential role in your political beliefs. You cannot expect your friend or buddy to have the same political beliefs because their needs are totally different from yours. A person who consumes food for its taste will not understand the needs of a person who eats due to hunger.

We don’t need that 225

This is one of the very common slogans you have seen in social media in the recent past. I would say this could be the most stupid and illiterate comment that one could say. Let’s ignore that 29, which are appointed through the national list but just consider that 196 members are selected by the supreme power called “Public”. These 196 MPs are a sample of the general public. You cannot change the selections without changing the whole set of values. We cannot change those 255 MPs unless the general public changes their attitude and beliefs. This is not something impossible. Let’s take an example from our neighbouring country India, the AAM AAdmi party, which was formed by a group of social activists able to capture the power of New Delhi state within six months after forming the party defeating two main strong opposition parties.

But, I believe that it will take a considerable amount of time for us to expect such a change; it would be another few decades.

My Perspective

Even though my mother language is Tamil, I was fortunate to learn and exercise Sinhala. This is mainly because I had the social pressure to learn, and also I have been surrounded by a lot of friends who speak Sinhala (But, I always proud that I can speak proper Sinhala than them :D ). I usually get to see Facebook ads, interviews, etc.; seriously, the number of contradictions that I could find in them is ridiculous. I witnessed a Facebook ad published by one of the leading candidates of the presidential election (in his Tamil Facebook page) contracts with his stand, which is well known in the south. This implies candidates are moving towards gaining more and more votes rather than focusing on their political stand.

I am used this election period to learn and understand the state of the social media community, and it is outrageous. I also witnessed many of them use very sensitive matters as a trump card to defend their political beliefs. I felt a bit worried and laughed at some posts because that shown the state of the inner soul irrespective of your position or qualifications; you have made your family & parents proud, it clearly indicates your upbringing 😉. Take a few steps back, do a self-analysis, and then you will understand how much hatred you have spread to your fellow community and friends. This also reiterates that Sri Lanka cannot see a prime minister or president from a minority community in the near future.

Photo by T. Chick McClure on Unsplash

In another perspective, I firmly believe each and every person has their likes and dislikes, but what I could understand is most of the people are not keen on who should win rather they are so keen on who should not win 😀. I am pretty sure this will be reflected in the coming presidential election.

Finally, this medium post is not written to influence any of you, but rather I felt that I have deserted in this hatred political mudslinging and wanted to register my view. Thanks.

Senior Tech Lead, Speaker @ WSO2. Closely works on Stream Processing and Integration