Indonesians Can Teach Americans A Lesson

... when it comes to national election, that is.

I have to say I concur with the CNN reporter when she commented how ironic it is that Martin Luther King's peace message is the only thing missing during the presidential battle. All the while this whole nation is celebrating his birthday. "Legacy" has become an overused word. Clinton and Obama practically bicker over who's more righteous to be the bearer of Dr. King's, you guessed, "legacy". Interesting to note that none of them actually elaborate about how this so-called "legacy" is implemented in their overal policy, specifically in issues that matter most to Americans: Iraq, the economy, health system, illegal immigrants, you name it. Just like in the previous weeks "change" was the mantra, thanks to Obama's victory in Iowa. Mitt Romney is currently the Highest Priest of Change, and we can only pray that he will one day be generous enough to explain what exactly he means by "change". If he merely refers to the change of leadership, well, what's new then? After two consecutive periods of a single president, it is constitutional to have a new one*eyes rolling*.

Funny how the longer I live here, the more similar the US and Indonesia seem to be. Commonalities can be found in the melting pot society, or the presidential system, and even the national motto (yeah, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika vs E Pluribus Unum -- I wonder why there is not yet a research focusing on Soekarno's love-hate relations with the US).

However, being a patriotic-with-a-tendency-to-be-chauvinistic keparat pemerintah (well, I can argue that I am paid to be chauvinistic, you're all taxed for me being a chauvinistic, sweet-talking bitch here), I hold on to the view that we Indonesians are one step ahead of the Americans in choosing our leaders. Here go my reasonings:

1. We don't need a foreign enemy to attract eligible voters to the ballots. Okay, so during the New Order people were not too eager to do it, the system was a joke, one didn't need thorough observation to know who was going to win, and campaigns were truly Pesta Rakyat -- in a sense that they were more like carnivals than political events. In other words: while participation in the United States is triggered by fear, Indonesia's is by, well, joy (ahem, pun intended).

2. Having said that, campaigning weeks in Indonesia are truly the time (if not the only time) when candidates actualize their promises on people's welfare: go to any party's campaign, and you're guaranteed at least a free lunch. If you are luckier, you'll be able to bring home a new t-shirt, cap, or even cash money. In the US, you can only collect pins -- and you still can't be sure that the candidates will fulfil their pledges afterward. Just look at Bush.

3. The polemics on whether the society is ready for a female head of state is outdated. Indonesians have had one. In fact, judging from all Indonesian presidents, Indonesians have had them all: a charismatic and multitalented womanizer, a brutal dictator with angelic smile, a hobbitt with capable brain but zero gut, let alone wisdom, a visually-challenged scholar cum religious organization frontman who could care less about what he just said, a lady with a batallion of late Daddy worshippers and an advantageous reputation for being the victim a suppresive regime, who could care less about what she did NOT say, and a general who seems to have difficulties in making decisions timely. (Pardon me for having been unfairly careful here; I am still a keparat pemerintah after all).

4. Presidential candidates in Indonesia show more maturity as they have their broadcasted public debate -- they are obviously very polite! No name calling, no long list of past mistakes brought up, no raised voice when deliberating. I just watched the Democratic candidates' debate in South Carolina, trust me, even Obama lost his calmness. When he was listening to Edward's argument, I was like seeing a cheetah ready to catch its prey. It's either due to Indonesia's education system which is still not in favor of encouraging students to discuss things, or yeah, those people are just too damn polite.

Now, the parliament members are another story, but let's save it for the next post. I have a lot of things to say about them :D.

Before I forget, the most memorable, precious moment of the South Carolina's Democratic caucus is when Obama had to comment on Toni Morrison's (the Nobel Prized African American writer, not the musician) rather ridiculous statement that "Bill Clinton was the 'black' president, 'blacker' than any actual black person could actually be elected in our lifetime."

After properly commending Bill Clinton, Obama cleverly continued with wit, "I have to investigate more on Bill's dancing ability before I accurately judge whether he was in fact a brother."

To which Hillary replied with an equally humorous sentence: "I'm sure that can be arranged."

And I'm also sure after this candidates are required to get their DNA tested.

[Note: I have to replay the video to get the record in verbatim. Check the full version there.]


mellyana said...

thanks kakak.
have a great lunch while reading this post

yang punya said...

Melly: My pleasure. So, it was because the lunch was nice?

nananias said...

ga kuat ama reply si kakak ih hihihi :p

but he did care about what he said, the people to whom he spoke to were the ones who did not care if their comprehension if anything is in line with what he meant. his sentences were often quoted out of the context just like how people love quoting one verse from the holy book to match their need.

gracie said...

hahahah.. after i read your number three..i started to wonder, what kind of president will we have in the future? A mixture of everything? A hobbit, womanizer, visually-challenged, say no evil-see no evil kinda person with major decision phobia..all rolled into one? Ayayayay...heaven forbid!

yang punya said...

Eda Nana: Each to her own :D. Btw, ini statement yang sekali lempar batu, tiga burung kena ya? ;)

Gracie: Honey, what are you trying to make? An android? ;)

sontoloyo said...

Well then being an Indonesian keparat pemerintah you still have something to talk about eh...

Being so close to American politic and goverment sure give you and advantage to comment for such things....even thou i could not agree more with the type of president Indonesia have.....hobbit ?? LOL

This posting proves you one thing tax pay out for some honesty in the heart of keparat pemerintah somewhere....even thou i am still waiting for the comment in parliament parts.