What I’m about to say is not something neutral. In fact, I’ve made my decision and I’d like to share my two cents on why I stand on the right side.
Election day is near. SBY will soon be dethroned after two terms of presidency. Two candidates bravely stand up, running for the next president. Profiles of all presidential and vice presidential candidates can be found here. To be brief, here is a major contention of each candidate :
Prabowo : He was involved in disappearance and kidnapping of several activists during the New Order regime.
Jokowi : He had been the governor of capital city Jakarta for only one year until he ran as president.
Now, why Jokowi-JK?
First of all, let’s establish what we want the most as the presidential figure of this beloved country. We have bleak history dealing with New Order and a lot of activists sacrificed their lives for the democracy that we enjoy today–a privilege that not all people in this world have. We need a figure that can maintain democracy and human rights. Let’s analyze why Jokowi serves this purpose as a leader.
It’s simple. Jokowi’s human right record is clean. It’s cliche and perhaps some people are bored already having this fact being shoved to their face. But why is human right record really important? Why are there human rights activists who campaign like crazy to protect innocent human beings from getting killed? Why do people need to not kill other human beings? Why are there laws to protect human rights? Let me pamper you this: because as a leader with the highest power in a nation, enjoying power from their constituents and benefit provided by our tax money, the least thing I can demand from my leader is to understand that I’m a human being and I have concerns and I need safety to address my concerns. Prabowo was involved in kidnapping several activists during the New Order regime to shut them down.
Rebuttal from Prabowo’s corner : “But hey, people can change!”
Why? Why can people change? And specifically, why would someone with higher position and bigger power have the interest to change especially if he’s voted as a president that means majority of us Indonesians deemed with clear conscience have pardoned his actions? Secondly. that rebuttal certainly does not explain that Prabowo will better ensure democracy than Jokowi. We have clear reasonable doubt upon what Prabowo would do while there’s a clean candidate on the other side.
I believe that looking at track record is the best way to forestall possible harms in the future. You’ve got to be kidding me if you say that you rely your entire nation’s future on a blind faith that someone can change with no explanation why that particular someone will change.
Rebuttal from Prabowo’s corner : “Well, but… he was told by his superordinate to do the kidnapping! He was only being obedient!”
So, let’s assume that from that side, being obedient is good.
But why does that side always attack Jokowi upon being “obedient” towards Megawati? Saying that Megawati will be the puppetmaster of a puppet government? To say the least, that side has double standard. To be really honest, they only contradict themselves to protect human rights claim from Jokowi’s side. And there are three things wrong from that rebuttal :
a. Let’s assume that they think being obedient is wrong as they accuse on Jokowi. Their statement only gives us proof that Prabowo has more tendency to just obey what’s told to them compared to Jokowi; so far we have no proof that he’ll just blindly obey Megawati. Or even if he’ll just obey Megawati, I really don’t understand the examples of the wrong interests from Megawati that will be inherently forced upon Jokowi if he hypothetically is chosen as the president.
b. Even if being obedient is right as they defend Prabowo to be, then Jokowi is not wrong. Anyway, so far, the example of Jokowi being obedient towards Megawati is only the fact that he runs as president after being mandated by Megawati to be PDI-P candidate. Let’s assume that Prabowo “only” followed the order of his superordinate (it irritates me to write this sentence, really) then Jokowi’s not different from Prabowo in order to follow “order”, really. (Which, anyway, brings me up to another contradiction where Prabowo side says that Jokowi is an opportunist to be governor of Jakarta after being Solo’s governor and then runs as president, while on the other hand they claim that Jokowi obeys Megawati. If Jokowi as a party member has to follow Megawati’s order including to be party’s candidate in the election race, he’s not that much of an opportunist, isn’t he? Well, continue.)
c. And yes, order that Jokowi obeyed does not harm anyone. If it does, only in minimum level. Period.
So much double standards used by Prabowo side on this issue I can’t even write a well-structured paragraph. But seriously, Prabowo side needs to be less defensive on this issue because, man, that looks really bad on them.
Secondly, what do we need from a president? Their good work; building infrastructures, prioritizing budget, ensuring that they make best from our sweat. We all concede this. Now, let’s analyze on what they will do if they’re elected as president based on what they explicitly say in the presidential debate that can be watched here.
In the first debate it was really clear that Jokowi knows his programmes, he didn’t waste time to talk about rhetorics; he was being practical. Compared to Prabowo who talked a lot of rhetorics. In the end of Jokowi’s speech it became clear what he wanted to do, it gave portrayal to us audience, and clearly he put a lot of thoughts into it. Prabowo talked too much about rhetorics, he spent a lot of time talking about why food is important, while obviously Jokowi wouldn’t say that food is not important. In terms of strategy of using limited time to talk about programmes, Jokowi side has surely prepared well about their programmes. The fact that he has been a governor of two cities was maybe a bonus; since he did not have to explain his programmes from zero since most people have been familiarized with his programmes and ideas that now will be made nation-wide.
Of course, everything can be twisted. Here’s how Prabowo side defended Prabowo after “losing” the first presidential debate :
“Look, Jokowi talked about technicality; it shows that he’s a manager type! Not a leader type!” (real statement from Prabowo side in the discussion held right after the debate)
It was really confusing what they meant by manager type and leader type; furthermore, why both are mutually exclusive. They also did not explain why explaining about technicality necessarily means being a manager type (if being this type is that wrong, according to them). It also kind of hurts common sense if what they meant by being a leader type was to talk vague concept and blurry programmes, it also hurts my intelligence too to assume that way. They also said that Jokowi’s programmes were only applicable local-wide but not nation-wide that creates another confusion what they mean by nation-wide programmes and the examples of such programmes. Furthermore, Jokowi has also defended his claim by saying that all his programmes about cards given to low-class society will be internet-based that reduces the glitch in manual administration in a significant amount. So far I think it is a pretty neat programme. Loopholes are there, but it can always be minimized.
Anyway, previous statement also creates confusion and potential inconsistency. Saying that Jokowi’s programmes are local-wide applicable means they concede to the fact that Jokowi is a good leader the fact that he can apply those proposals. That means based on Prabowo side’s statements, Jokowi is two things: manager-type that can not be a leader-type, and a local leader type. Conclusion: under their logic, local leaders are managers. Jokowi’s a manager-type who can’t be a leader but he’s a local-leader type. Their view towards Jokowi is as vague as Prabowo’s statements in the first presidential debate, seriously.
Third reason on why I stand on the right side. Religion issues. Utilizing religions, for me, is always wrong, not only does it ignore the sanctity of religions by commodifying it, it also benefits from people’s faith and fear towards hell and sins. Prabowo gains votes mostly from Islamic bases by promising them to incorporate FPI to create order. He’s also backed up by various conservative Islamic parties such as PKS, PPP, and PBB. I think that fact is self-explanatory in itself. I can’t imagine being led by so much power from religious bases. Can we please only have one Tifatul Sembiring, learn our lessons, and just move on for a better future, please.
Fourth issue is perhaps not that important for a lot of people but is really important for me and my fellows as the potential taxpayers in 2/3 years ahead. It’s about money politics, a hot issue surrounding our nascent democracy. So Prabowo has clearly stated, “Just let people buy your vote and accept the money, that’s your own money.“
a) This individual totally does not understand the concept of tax and that government needs to pay back the tax people pay through infrastructures and stuffs that benefit ALL people in ALL possible time not only when it comes to election and to gain personal benefit, b) This individual clearly underestimates the value of voting and democracy that’s supposed to educate people. What he says only justifies the easy way for politicians to not educate citizens about politics but just use the capital to gain vote.
I was totally speechless when reading that news and I hoped that it was a scam or joke or satire news, because I refused to believe that people with little understanding about democracy and tax can become president in this country. Meanwhile, Jokowi has advised all voters to not accept any kind of bribery, as a comparison (source).
The last issue is dealing with Prabowo’s supporters main argument on why they support Prabowo.
“He’s bold and assertive! I can’t imagine Jokowi talking about international issues as a president!”
I understand it. Figure is what they want. They want a strong figure and they believe that figure is a merit by itself. It’s a valid stance, I think, but please consider these points :
- We (well I did not since I was not 17 at that time yet) voted for SBY for two terms for the exact same reason–figure. Did he display any boldness during his presidency?
- Jokowi dealt with thugs when he was the Governor of Jakarta–and he succeeded. Was it not bold enough movement?
- Are you seriously thinking that a picture of someone riding a horse a president-worthy?
- Does having a strong figure really supersede all what Jokowi has done and has promised to do towards this beloved nation?
I understand that Jokowi is not perfect; but no president is. No one will ever fully eradicate poverty, no one will please everybody else. I also admit that he still weaknesses and there’s still room for improvement and he still needs to work hard to be the next president of Indonesia. But Jokowi is the lesser of two evils by clear margin. He’s better prepared, he’s shown contribution, he’s proven as a good leader.
Then again, this is all my opinion. I can be wrong, I can be mistaken. Leave a comment if you wish, rebut me, disavow my arguments. That’s what campaign and election are about, right? Democracy, when people can talk and opine freely in public. But once again let me remind you that there is the one proven to ensure democracy, and I hope we’ll all vote for him.