I’m in Anuradhapura. Every now and then Halik gets these strange bike trip ideas which never end as planned but are usually interesting. Right now it’s just nice to sweat and occupy body and mind.
I’ve been reading Game Of Thrones. It’s basically politics with knives. What do they say, in the game of thrones you either win or you die. But real politics isn’t like that. You can live either way.
In any politics, it’s tempting to say those are bad people, but it’s rarely true. Everyone in politics is doing something for or because of someone else, so it’s really hard to apportion blame.
Duminda Silva was a thug and a lot of people are calling for his death (he got in a gun fight and is critical). He also helped a lot of people (through dodgy probably underworld money) and was a top vote getter in Colombo.
The question isn’t whether Duminda Silva is a criminal, that’s been answered. The question is how do criminals get support. What needs is the law not serving? How did the social network get so distorted that a rapist and thug is a hero to so many?
Among my less thuggish circles, I’ve gotten a lot of flack for supporting a government candidate. Never mind that I liked and contributed to his ideas, it was like supporting that party was a personal betrayal.
But it’s not. This isn’t personal. My question is, how did the party system get so fucked that an intelligent politician like Milinda can’t find a portfolio in the UNP or votes from the SLFP? When did politics get reduced to symbols and numbers?
People have been calling for Duminda Silva to die or calling me a bad person for even supporting Milinda, and it’s just gotten really ugly. I don’t wish death on anybody and I think very few people are fundamentally bad. When did we become so casually vicious and harsh?
It’s not just Sri Lanka. People call Barack Obama a Muslim traitor rather than saying they disagree with him. People act like their opponents have evil intent rather than just different ideas, or different social networks where their ideas do make sense. I think this is changing, and it’s better than medieval Game Of Thrones style, but in those days there was at least this idea that people lived in a flawed system and did what we had to do to get by.
I think we need to be aware of that. That politics is by nature a social web and no one actor has that much control. Not even Mahinda. Even he rides the beast probably less than the beast rides him.
This is the fundamental attribution area, attributing things to personality rather than circumstance. But we are all born naked and squealing and depend a great deal on circumstance and luck. It is a bit of a mess, but we’re all in it together and understanding and respect is a prerequisite for finding a way out.
Politics is by nature about relations between people, so no one person is really the problem or the solution. We literally have to work together.
But I’m rambling. My broader point is that this isn’t personal, but it certainly feels that way.