TRUTH CASUALLY ASSASSINATED IN POLITICS | Daily News

TRUTH CASUALLY ASSASSINATED IN POLITICS

All citizens are free and equal in a democracy and are obliged to contribute to the common good of all in society each one according to his/her recognized capacity. All are supposed to know that no one is to use one’s freedom to commit any of the many evils that are destructive to oneself or to anyone else in society. No one is expected to make special promises to refrain from each of the several harmful social evils of a society. Every citizen is expected to live as a civically responsible person knowing how to behave in privacy or in public.

Citizens eligible to vote are confronted by politicians who wish to be elected as their representatives. Among them are candidates hoping to become the President and Prime Minister, Ministers and MPs of Sri Lanka. Each one of them seems to be confident that he is very suitable and capable. They are attempting to present themselves broadcasting their aptness. To the people, they do not seem truthful, just, upright and fit to rule. There is a mass vote of Sinhala-Buddhists which seems pliable in the hands of shrewd manipulators. And so each politician devises a plan to suss out the vote in his favour. Yet those who attempt to exploit prejudices seem blind to the danger of the social fabric getting ignited with religio-racial tension and violence associated with an economic backlash and the resultant fall-out of international condemnation and commercial disaster.

STATE THE TRUTH WITHOUT BLUFFING

The people need to penetrate their heart and mind and interpret their real and true intentions as to how and why they are contesting. The politicians who come forward could outline as clearly as possible a true depiction of the vision, the hopes, the aspirations and the proposals for the good of the country or how as an unselfish member of a political party, he/she would participate in implementing the economic and other development projects that have been planned.

When they are short on transparency there may be other peripheral reasons for it. Is it to find an avenue of lucrative employment including opportunities to make big money through sleaze and financial trickery? Is it to find a way of helping close family members and friends who will in turn pay back handsomely for favours received? Or is it to have power to shield relatives and friends from investigations and inevitable punishment overshadowing them? The citizens should know that none of these reasons are good enough for anyone to be elected to a position of grave responsibility as a representative of the sovereign people.

Rather than create grandiose and romantic dreams to arrest the people’s imagination, it would be wiser on the part of the candidate to outline a realistic and feasible plan that could be carried out with the resources available to the country. The citizens could then weigh and analyze the plans set before them, review the views and past actions of politicians, assess their credibility, truthfulness, honesty, integrity and moral standards and make judgements of their own. It would also make sense for most politicians to assume that the people do not believe them totally. The citizens also know that the politicians desire to be popular rather than truthful and do not transparently set before them the whole truth about themselves as they bluff habitually.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MIRROR DOMESTIC RELATIONS

The country needs to have a climate of trust, genuine solidarity and fraternity to solve the national questions and remove racial hostility and religious bitterness among the people. All political leaders should promote frank dialogue among religious leaders and communities to lead all citizens towards reconciliation and unification. The people observe that certain slanted ideas and views surfaced for political advantage could bring about disharmony, alienation and even violent conflict among ethnic and religious groups.

Quality and integral education is of crucial importance to build in every citizen a sound character, good social relationships individually and community-wise on the basis of law and order, discipline and good manners, for all citizens’ healthy national aspirations and the country’s social and civic progress. When the home front is peaceful and domestic affairs just and fair, foreign affairs will be a true reflection of good domestic relations and not a playing out of local political party intrigues on the international stage.

VIABLE PLANS IN EVERY MINISTRY

Therefore education should be depoliticized and educational policy should be the responsibility of educationists who think of the good of all those who are getting formed to be adult, mature, civic-minded responsible citizens of their motherland.

Allocating equitably, justly and fairly the resources needed for uplifting education and providing space for an education that is an ongoing formative cultural process is the responsibility of good governance. The intelligent and the educated will then create new avenues of employment, gainful activity and human services needed in the future.

Also, the health of the people should not be in any way a means of filthy exploitation by any agent directly involved in the sector of health and in the health-life of the people. Some experts in health as well as producers of drugs and all other materials and facilities needed by patients may also need a wholesome formative education to have a social consciousness to be saved from a dehumanizing greed.

When our environment is sufficiently taken care of, our land and the vast sea surrounding her could produce all that we need and more for our food and drink endowed as we are with an abundance of resources of water, sunshine and wind that could be used also for producing energy and power. Our agriculture should provide a major share of the food we need while generating worthwhile and rewarding employment to those engaged in it. Agriculture could also open avenues for many other industries that will produce commodities marketable locally and abroad. As industries give employment to many men and women, people’s representative should be imaginative and creative enough to initiate new industries that generate employment. This requires a higher intelligence and a quality education than the low level of education shown by many Ministers and MPs with blunted intelligence whose capabilities are limited to enrolling their political henchmen in state agencies and corporations that are overstaffed already.

Even though there is a Ministry of Planning and Plan Implementation, Political parties that have come to power have neglected well thought-out national development plans involving the coordinated engagement of all ministries.

The people have had the experience of politicians with elaborate and impressive plans in their election manifestos which have been completely forgotten after election campaigns. This is nothing but spawning of lies and deceiving the people.

DO NOT HIDE TRUE INFORMATION

Politicians should not distort and assassinate the truth in local and national politics and on the international stage. Truth is the correspondence of one’s words to one’s thoughts. It is what we say conforming to reality. When a government minister says, for example, “I could only give this particular directive; I cannot do otherwise. I keep to this principle; it is the right one”, it sounds very reasonable. But that is not what it actually is or what actually takes place. Take another example. A minister says, “The former regime has borrowed from another country US$ 150 million 10 years ago at 5% interest p.a. and has not settled the debt, it means that this country is now in debt to the extent of $220.5 million. When the borrowings are in the thousands of billions, one could calculate what an enormous debt the country has to pay back. And now we have to carry this burden and pay the debt”. But when the new regime comes and shows no lessening of corruption or wastage, no frugality or economizing in expenditure, no lessening of borrowing, no significant increase in production, earnings from exports and services but a substantially higher increase in the debt, people begin to see that the truth about the real state of affairs is not set before them.

Among the questions on which people need true clarifications, the main are: How economically viable were the projects financed by the debts? How feasible is the manner of settlement of the debts agreed upon and how prudent and credible was the minister/s of the former regime who negotiated the debts, how economically or wastefully was the money spent; how much was robbed and banked abroad and how credible are the ministers who are now speaking about turning round and making the erstwhile white elephants generate a viable income, and are we not getting deeper into debt even now?

These are not always easy matters for the citizens to discern when much of the information needed is glossed over and hidden from them.

It is important for the people to know the true state of public affairs whether it is about the New Constitution and the principles of government, about the state of agriculture, education, health, tourism, foreign trade and work of expatriates etcetera and about the viability of development projects (Megapolis, RDA, Norochcholais, Uma-oyas, Hambantota Harbour, Mattala Airport, Arms and Aircraft Deals), the work of incompetent and corrupt political appointees as ambassadors and policies regarding various economic issues, along with the possibility of their implementation. It is important for the people to know well the true state of public affairs and the integrity of those who wish to deal with them on behalf of the people.

The political stability and economic progress that contribute to the pursuit of peace, happiness of the people and freedom from undue worry can never be divorced from truth. When truth is compromised and even assassinated and seen to be so, space is created for misinformation, fake-news and naked lies to rise and prevail leading to social disorder, lawlessness and fratricidal conflicts.

Sri Lanka needs to discard and dump in a limbo the noted corrupt political and administrative figures. The citizens should take the initiative to summon a new generation of honest persons, genuine patriots into politics and public service. 


 

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