Politics is not only getting dirtier but dangerous too as less than a week remains for people to go to the polls of the general round of elections.
The heated campaigns and aggressive political discourse and debates based on party lines have generated a lot of tension and antagonism among supporters of two rival parties competing to form the next government. Such polarization is expected in a political environment during election time.
However what is deeply disconcerting is the fact that fanatical individuals are dragging the names of sacred institutions and apolitical organizations into the squalor of politics. Disturbing voice messages that smear the sanctity of these institutions are going viral in WeChat and Facebook. As Bhutanese, we must pause and reflect and question the political motivation of these individuals.
While election is an important democratic process to self-determine the government of, by and for the people, it cannot come at the price of the nation’s unity and security. The election process is a political competition to elect the most credible party to form the government. And it must remain that. We cannot let interest groups or individuals to engage in dangerous political warfares and devices that pitch ‘us’ against ‘them’ and undermine the very foundation of our nation.
Albeit democratic elections are important, we should also look at other aspects of our national life. Do we allow party politics to divide this nation? Should we let electoral politics to undermine our nation’s unity, security and sovereignty?
Political parties participate in elections with a profound sense of purpose – to serve the nation in the best possible way they can. This must be true for political candidates, workers and supporters as well. Shouldn’t their campaign then also reflect similar desire and purpose?
It’s important, therefore, for all of us to think about the larger picture. We can’t miss the forest for the trees. The larger picture is that our nation must be strong and united and that our nation’s security and sovereignty are foremost, above all else. This is even more paramount given our geopolitical reality.
Today we are experiencing an unprecedented level of rift and tension, to the extent that it could rip apart the tightknit fabric of our society. Political differences are bound to happen, no denying that, particularly during elections. Healthy differences are welcome. But differences should not undermine the fundamental structure of our nation. And the fundamental structure around which our national life revolves is the Institution of Monarchy. The Institution of Monarchy, therefore, should be kept above politics.
At this hour, the important thing for every Bhutanese is to think above and beyond politics. We need to think beyond our political differences, and that is, to be conscious of our nation’s future. At the end of the day, we are ‘one people under one King’ and that is the unifying force that brings all of us together as a nation.
In less than a week from now, we would be done with our third parliamentary elections. We would have elected the government and the opposition. Isn’t this time critical for us to seize the opportunity to create a democratic culture based on national interest first? For in the end, the nation must triumph.