This 23 year old lost with 682 votes, but also got zero bullets in the head. I think he is the future.
Duminda Silva is blowing up ze blog traffic, but it’s important to remember that he’s a dinosaur. Mammals are the future, and Sri Lankan politics is on the mend. It is possible to not be a thug and succeed in politics. People like you and me just need to stay involved, donate, vote and support the few politicians that are pushing for a change. They may look like rodents now, but trust me, the species will evolve.
I supported Milinda Moragoda in the last election and Shiral Lakthillake before. Both guys lost, but I haven’t lost hope. It’s easy to say all the candidates are the same or that the whole political process is toast, but it’s simply not true. Yesterday Milinda posted this quote on FB and I think it’s apt:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. (Theodore Roosevelt, April 23, 1910)
I firmly believe that Sri Lanka is getting better all the time. If I’m wrong fuck it, at least I tried. A lot of people in the English Speaking Elite have completely lost faith in the process, but I’m here to say that they’re wrong. Not that things couldn’t go to shit, but that future is not written yet. I’m not saying that you’re dumb, but why would you want to be right?. Faith defines are actions, so why would you act that way? Call me idealist, but I think we can make it better, but we have to have the basic faith to get in, to participate and try.
If you think what Mahinda is doing is wrong, go protest. I did. I’ve hung around the Horton Place roundabout holding candles and getting gawked at by buses. Did it change anything? Not really, but we tried. When I thought Mahinda selected an intelligent guy for Colombo Mayor I supported him, campaigned online and wrote as much as I could. Did he win? Nope, but we tried.
It’s easy to do bad. The devil opens the door the first time you knock. It’s easy to do nothing, you don’t even have to knock. Good, however, is a harsh mistress. Better seems easier, but she’s also hard to get. You have to keep knocking, you have to keep trying, you have to create as many opportunities to meet her as you can. And sometimes you never do. But you still do it, out of hope, out of love, and out of the stubborn belief that if you keep trying, something good will come.
In Sri Lanka people talk about how dumb and easy it is to support the government all the time, but it’s also not that discerning to always support the official opposition. At some point you’ve got to look beyond the old battle lines and remember what you’re fighting for, and if it requires fighting at all. We need to start voting for candidates, not colors.
If you say politics is kill or be killed, then you get dinosaurs. Big, impressive beasts like Duminda Silva. They suck, but they’re good to have on your side. Alternately, you get big, depressive beasts like Ranil Wickremesinghe who eat grass and die all the time. That’s the ecosystem. But I’m telling you, the asteroid of NOT WAR has hit Sri Lanka, and it’s only a matter of time.
Things are chilling out and these cold-blooded beasts aren’t going to survive. Thinking, policy-oriented politicians may look like mice now, but the future belongs to them. They just have to keep evolving, and citizens have to keep feeding them.
For example, Lasantha Jayawardena is a young man who ran for the Kotte Municipal Council. He got 682 votes out of over 73,000. Laugh at him now, but he’s a software engineer, he took donations over PayPal, and if he keeps at it, the man will evolve. That is the future.
Please support young people like him, and please feed the political animals. Vote, donate and, above all, don’t give up on the political process. It hasn’t given up on you.