I actually don't really favor writing about politics, but a few days actualy watching news (having nothing to do) I observed a phenomena I want to address. But first a little background; Indonesia within 20ish days will have its largest democratic hoolabaloo; the Presidential elections. This election will decide the next President for 5 years to come; and some predicts it will go into 2 rounds, the first round contesting all 3 candidates, while the second contests the final 2 pairs of candidates. For the sake of journalism, here's the names of the pairs for President-Vice President; Megawati Soekarno-Putri - Prabowo, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - Boediono, and Jusuf Kalla - Wiranto. All pairs containg a composure of either specialists (economy, geopolotics, etc) with elements of non-civillian (military), so that's a first point I want to make about Indonesia's politics. Haven't figured it out yet? Read on..
Last night i think one way or another all the major television companies broadcasted the "Candidate Presidential debate" among the 3 contestants. All right, what was interesting was not the debate per se, which is not the focus of this article, but again for the sake of journalism the theme of last night's debate was "The strategies of implementing Human Rights protection in Indonesia". My focus was people's reaction towards the debate, in which most who commented i observed was people who debate competitively in their universities, and sample is taken from people in my Facebook friendlist.
A lot of them complained about the lack of content of the debate. Some even compared it to politics in other state (most obvious the comparison with American politics). I disagree in these points;
1) The debate did not lack content per se actually. The moderation and panelling of the debate i think was poor. Besides poor stage management by TV One (you have one panelist ask a question but 5 seconds later was cut by the moderator for a commercial break,, amateur stuff --"), the lackness i think was the ability to mainstream the candidates in answering the questions and engage in a debate. This is under a few reasons; the question was about Human Rights, and the panel asked what concrete steps would the candidate take shall they get chosen? -> One, this question lacks gravity, what Human Rights? In what context? And what is the solid parameter of concrete anyways? This parameter question is solid as it's a baseline for the candidates to determine how they answer, the US Supreme Court had a major debacle post elections 2000 over what is the definition of "intent to vote", so asking what "concrete actions" is i think makes sense. Then I think what you must do before advocating a Presidential debate, the candidates and their team must be briefed on what "debate" is. What is stupid is looking at key campaign people PERSONALLY attacking the success teams of the other candidates. That is not a DEBATE, but a reflection of lack of critical thinking and logic, and the thrive of emotion. That's where the problems is.
2) Then i observe some people compared it to US politics. I went berzerk on this notion; i think its absurd to compare 2 different states and their politics. Why? a) Indonesia and United States thrives on 2 different democracies; US is a liberal democracy while Indonesia i not, this is reflected from their National emblem to the way their economy was built b) US adopts pretty much the bi-party electory system, while Indonesia uses multi party c) US's voting mechanism is completely different from Indonesia; US uses an "electoral college" system while Indonesia is "direct vote per voter" d) US influenced from its bi-party system thus has a clear distinction of the 2 political wings; left or right, liberal or conservatives. Indonesia's political system is vague; pay attention to different parties and you'll see similar platforms, just over generalised goals without explaining the specifics based on politic wings. This can be seen obviously that the endorsers of parties do not have specific characteristics.
Why is it then unfair to compare? One, due to the convergence of platforms among parties, if your moderation is wrong then you won't ignite a debate. In a US Presidential debate, you have given issues and candidates would defend the stance of their political wings', this may not necessarily exist in Indonesia, you have a discussion about Human Rights then of course all 3 candidates would endorse the protection of Human Rights, it takes no genious to figure it out. Is this wrong? No it isnt, that's just how our politics is, and that's as democratic as it is.
"Democracy never demanded people make the right choice or undergo the smart process, but it only requires that everything is steered by the people, and that choices made are people's regardless of its quality, because the ability to cast a vote itself is the dreams and pinnacle of democracy"So i think its unfair to compare 2 completely different states and judge one is weaker than the other. You think US elections are prudent? No, get your facts right, look at the happenings of the 2000 US elections where there were different standards of an "eligible" vote among counties that shambled the counts and made Bush win, and that Gore's appeal was rejected only because of a conflicting time frame, and look at what that choice made? Is it wrong? Not necessarily, it can only be wrong if you see it within relevant variables, not comparing it with a completely different set of variables. Go Indonesia, you're already perfect version of what you are!!