To win a campaign in an ignorant society the approach is to make this a festival because festivity attracts a lot of people. When there is a crowd more people gather into the crowd and generate what psychologists call the mob mentality. This is not a rational mentality. They flock together to get a feeling of belonging. In a community devoid of other ways of feeling a sense of belonging they group together to enjoy that sense of being. So the voters too vote in this case just to be in the winning group and feeling the glow of being “useful” when in fact they have been fooled. Most people just like to be in the winning team, or to be in the popular group in school for instance, to give pep to their weak egos. This is the attitude that drives the mob to be together and the mobster to be doing everything to keep this flock together by those external glitter of colour and music and loud rhetoric they throw around to attract a confused people.
The marketing and PR heavy weights know this from what tactics they have been using for the past several decades or even generations of this capitalist era. From the days when they sold goods and services from door to door for the benefits their goods gave to society, to now where the sale being plied is to satisfy the ego. We know this from shop sales and other gimmicks that salespeople use; when something is available seemingly at a low price we feel it’s a bargain and we rush there and we buy - often mindlessly. It’s only later that we realize that what we had bought was not any cheaper or even of any use. But then our ego comes to the rescue again; we then don’t want to feel deceived so we try to rationalize within ourselves of the not so foolishness of our action. But it’s common knowledge that businesses use people’s emotions rather than their rationality to market their goods nowadays, and that goes for the sale of candidates in a political campaign also.
This indeed is the election tactic. We are drawn to the hype more than to the rationality of good governance. So the colours and the signs and banners and the music and mementoes give the voter the perceived confidence to give their vote or even to sell their vote to the candidate within this context of a public ignorant of the dynamics of governance and who fail to realise that they have been taken for a ride - yet again.
As regards governance capability, let’s look at the candidates. What are the qualities of governors of a nation? What is desired is truthfulness, reliability, time-tested quality of steadfastness and faithfulness to one’s creed and spiritual belief. And the ability to work assiduously with other human being without unresolvable conflict. Thus, out of those in the running who has this quality, is the question to be asked. That is what the educated voter must know and decide on. That this person we elect will be just and truthful and fair.
About the resources available for governance, the nation’s resources are available to anyone who occupies that post of governor. Once elected, it should not be about the size of the party but the sincerity of service one is able to provide. The small independent pair also can govern, if not better than the pair that was coddled by the mob, and who put up all those banners and colours all over the island. In fact the big party is more straddled with burdens, in the case of a win, because they now have to pay back that “pound of flesh” to all those who helped truss the candidate. To avoid revolt, the party now has to dish out the presents as pay-back for the help given by the mob and that means positions in another corruptible government that will compel the take-up of incompetent people into lucrative money-guzzling posts of the new government. But for the small pair that won (if possible from this first barrage of foolishness) there will be the whole nation’s creativity to pick from, and govern for the true betterment of society. Not for its failure yet again.
This is the anomaly the rational voter faces in politically ignorant independent nations It is in. our “third world” societies that this kind of foolishness can happen with foolish pride to “mobilize” our communities to the poll. But to govern, this mob can’t be allowed to take the posts of governors.
So, independents are better suited to peaceful governance without all the added baggage of party confusion. This realization must dawn on us by now in this democracy. Otherwise we are foolishly exercising hypocrisy. How can we just use the label of democracy to govern in dictatorial ways. This is absolute deception. And yes the nation has been kept deceptively ignorant of democracy from the word go in 2008; for the agents of change even at that time knew that it would be easier to grab power in an ignorant society than in an enlightened one. And that is what Maldives grapples with to this day.
So voters that support the few independents in the ballot this time around, shouldn’t be enfeebled by the show of glitter around those so-called big parties. What we need is the confidence of good governance that must come from educated voters. And in Maldives we have many in this category, who might sit more silent than they should be, and even though the mob entices the rest to ignorant mob behaviour. Surely, the dust must settle and if we are not ignorant, we will realize that in our haste, we have given yet another wasteful five years to a deceitful lot.
Please don't be swayed by ignorance. Be led by your higher thoughts of nationhood and Islamic sensibility for a new age Maldives to breathe its first breath of goodness.