When president Barack Obama first ran for the presidency in 2008 he conveyed with a lot of energy that he would want to change the “tone of politics” in the United states. He sought that change the divide between political parties was getting wider and unity among people was taking a back seat. President Barack Obama when he addressed his last White House correspondents dinner this, he conveyed his regret regarding him not able to fulfilling these words. Things are not getting any better as Trump leads the Republican nomination. American politics aside, let us look back at the politics of our country and gauge ourselves how much our political tone has changed, how much we have let our politics divide us, how we have deteriorated as a community who are tolerant to differing opinions, how we are letting slip the values we cherished so proudly.
The contours of Indian politics is changing fast, the space for a free and civil debate is shrinking, people have taken politics a little too seriously, little too personally. Voters of different political parties have become cheerleaders and defenders of the respective political party they support. Support for a particular party has become synonymous naming and shaming of other political parties. There is a strong belief that appreciating other political parties are tantamount to self-defeating.
One can criticize a political party and support them at the same time. Politicians seem to be having a free run even as political supporters are indulging in mudslinging and slugfest. Yes, politicians for their own reasons and aspiration do take potshots at each other even while sipping a wine together in the background. But what is there for the voters in vigorously defending the party they voted while shaming others. Voting is a confidential affair, even at an election booth we are not supposed to reveal who we are voting for. It is done for a reason, let us take that culture forward by not publicly aligning with political parties, let us keep our choices confidential, let us be neutral in the criticisms and appreciation of political parties. Politicians are not our neighbours, not our friends, not our enemies etc. They come and they go. As people we live together, we help each other, we celebrate each other, we share our sorrows and grief and we are unnecessarily letting politics and politicians creating ripples and fissures in our society, in the way we live together.
We pass the baton to our community members and we ask you to come to your conclusions. Even as we conclude this article, we leave you with few questions to ponder.
Why have we suddenly become religious in our political voice?
Do we fail to notice the fault lines politics has started to create among the society?
We cherished unity, why is there barely any mention about it?
Do you feel there is increasing trust deficit among Indian citizens due to the acrimonious political atmosphere?
Obama said there needed a change in political tone in the United States. Obama may have failed in succeeding, it is not too late for us, let us change the tone of politics in our country that would bind not separate people, that would strengthen the bonds of people and not weaken them.