You See Those Newspapers? Well Read ’em!  

Politics is not something that everyone can understand.

Even when somebody does, they might not like it at the first place. As important as it can be, politics then, is not an easy subject to wrap your heads around.

So it is only understandable when somebody tries to relate politics to something that they like. After all, everybody at least understands the importance of everything related to it. Hence, it is only natural that people seek for something to root for. One of the easiest things to comprehend and root for then is a public figure.

People tend to choose or side with somebody that they can relate to. It is then easy to see why people like Bernie sanders, Joko Widodo, Trudeau or even Trump, who has a lot of supporters be it on the internet or in the actual world. Their policies, their speech, their actions and (in Trudeau’s case) their look, speaks to the needs of certain groups of people who have the same values. On the other hand, people who don’t agree with them could then easily oppose them.


Because politics are so complicated, what with the whole public policy, economics, law and bureaucracy involved in it, there may be a tendency where people choose not to try and understand it. This sort of started a habit where people tend to just agree with somebody that they support no matter what. Because those figures may be very admirable and relatable while a the same time, the issues in place are so complicated that reading just one article about it is not enough; It would then be simpler to just take the figure they supported for granted.

This is when things become tricky and quite interesting. Because like it or not, there is no such thing as a perfect human being. I mean even Obama, who’s arguably done a good job as the US president admits that he made a horrible mistake with his decision on Libya. And we all know that it wasn’t the only thing that he was wrong about.

This thing on Libya though is not something that is easily understandable. So does the refugee crisis, or the Panama papers scandal, or even the artificial island project in North Jakarta.

Nevertheless, because politics, as I said before, is a very complex matter, people are less able to comprehend policies when it was made, let alone when it is being argued about. More often than not, people would either just blindly trust the decision maker or the other way around.

So when an artificial land project that was initiated back in 1995 surfaced, people who support Ahok and thought that this was Ahok’s program would support it, and people who don’t support him will say whatever.

Sadly it doesn’t just stop there because it would then be turned into a net propaganda that translates into cyber bullying. And if you thought gossip (which is simply a rumor spread through word of mouths) was bad, wait till you see how word of mouths spread on the net. All of a sudden we have people who brand themselves as Ahok lovers or Ahok haters, ranting all over your timeline, without even understanding the substances of the very problem at the first place.

One case that was really apparent and for me exemplifies this argument best is the Sumber Waras hospital case. Amir

Amir Hamzah, reported governor Ahok to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for allegedly self-benefitting from the transaction of buying the hospital’s land using tax payer’s money, based on a report conducted by government’s supreme audit agency (BPK).

An argument later rebuffed by Ahok, Sumber Waras themselves and a report by Tempo magazine, which basically explained that BPK’s audit was based on a false data. Amir later, in a television interview, moves on and criticized the procedure of the transaction instead. A procedure regulated by the constitution, of which Ahok hasn’t been proven to violate.

Amir’s insistence of Ahok’s wrongdoings can then be seen as an act solely done against the figure, not the decision. Even when Ahok hasn’t been proven to do anything wrong, and even if he does violate a procedure, it surely doesn’t qualify as an act of corruption, Amir still stubbornly insisted that Ahok has done some sort of a crime.

Unfortunately, when Amir was asked to assess Ahok decision’s neutrally using appropriate data and theories, he (in my opinion) had rather shy away from it and persist on being stubborn by keep on insisting that Ahok is wrong (even if Amir’s argument has later turn out to be quite nonsensical).

I wouldn’t necessarily blame him, though, because he just simply represents Indonesia’s majority that isn’t able to comprehend complex aspects related to politics, and could only rely on snap judgments. Something that I myself would have done, if I don’t get paid to pay attention to this political nonsense (which is sadly still very important, and by any chances are the most relevant things to our life we can find out there).

All I can say is that those newspaper subscriptions your parents insist on keeping, even if you have no more space to store them in the attics anymore, read them. Because being adults does not only mean that you have to earn your own money and live for yourself. Being an adult these days also means that once in every few years, you get to decide the life of people around you by choosing one leader from the other. And the only way you can minimise the possibility of choosing the wrong leader, is by reading the news and being aware of what has been going on around you.

Our only real hope for democracy is that we get the money out of politics entirely and establish a system of publicly funded elections. – Noam Chomsky

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