Why we go to polls

Much has been said and much has been offered as reasons why Thailand should not go to the polls. The excuses sound routine at this point. “It wont fix the political divides.” “The politicians are in it for themselves.” “No one cares about the people.”

To be honest they are all fair points. But what is the alternative? An appointed government, if appointed then by whom?  For how long would that government stand? All those roads lead to slopes, which are slippery rather than firm.

So what if we go to polls. Chances are slim that it will heal political divides, that it will fix the riffs and that it will bring about benevolent politicians. But it’s the best alternative we have.

History offers a lesson for those inquisitive enough to look. Consider 21st century Thailand like the Weimar Republic. We have a loose collection of parties vying for power and playing political games while the citizens suffer and the economy stagnates.

Was it an ideal situation for the people? Definitely not. But look at what happened next. Militarism and a strongman were able to manipulate the will of the people to such an extent that the death of democracy was roundly applauded by all and the German Third Reich was born.

Now let us relate it back to present day Thailand. The many who argue that Thailand should be governed by the few say that we need a strong figure. One who will unite Thailand against the foreign powers that would pray on our weakness, a strong figure that would strengthen the economy and make Thais proud to wave the flag.

But what happens if such a magnificent figure whoever he may be were to fall. What happens if absolute power does corrupt absolutely? When we demolish our democracy we destroy the checks that make sure such a despot does not deliver us to the brink of despair.

Remember what happened after the 2006 coup? When the will of a few destroyed the voice of the many. Democracy is not ideal but it is the best thing we have and until we learn to forgive each other nothing is going to be better.

The coup, the voices against representation, that is for single-minded governance occurs in Thailand a lot. Once every 20 years in fact. The progress that we make always gets reset back to zero. After October 14 1973 the gains made by the students were reset 3 years later. Well we can no longer do that, we must condemn to punish those who would think, “they know better” because those resets are so malignant, so cancerous, so devastating that our country can no longer tolerate their proponent because we can no longer survive their being repeated.

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