Politics in this country is represented through the gap between those who have and the ones who don’t. This is the reality whether we like it or not. Occasionally we’ve heard stories about less affluent individuals entering politics, educating themselves and then extending an arm to help those who are in need. Such people hardly make it in politics or earn anything from politics. If at all they earned anything for the time invested in politics it is social capital.
People from less affluent backgrounds are often brought to politics by senior politicians. And after many years in politics, these people brought into politics don’t make that leap from being ordinary citizens to people who the country and voters can be proud of.
A good many of Sri Lanka’s budding politicians come from surroundings or a background which can be best described by the word ‘poverty’. Once in politics, they earn their money through commissions and other means. They continue to talk about ‘equality’ and the ‘poor man’ and maintain that they represent the less affluent class. They also affirm that it’s the blood of the poor people which runs in them.
But when one takes a peep into the lives of these politicians it is easily observed that they spend lavishly on attire, houses and vehicles and live the life of the rich. The trick they play in maintaining the gap between the rich and the poor is not grasped by the gullible public.
What is to the advantage of the politician is that the majority of less affluent people are quite proud of their ‘class’; which is disassociated with the rich. For some strange reason, a good many of the less affluent are anti-rich.
In a recent interview given by an individual- belonging to the minority community, but speaking fluent Sinhalese- to YouTube maintained that if not for the members of the less affluent community the streets in Colombo would be deserted after dusk.
It’s this anti-rich community that the lawmakers of this nation prey on. The divide-and-rule method using religious tension in the country is not effective at present. The individuals with a stale static mindset would not quite understand what the newcomer to politics wearing a white shirt and buying up or starting businesses mutters all the time nor would they grasp what the pot-bellied businessman and philanthropist say about re-engineering and reviving businesses in the island.
These two individuals have given us enough signs that they wish to enter politics given that there is a guarantee that they would be made the winner. Then there is the engineer-wearing national- who talks about working professionals taking over the political scene in this country.
Unfortunately, the colours that these ambitious people ‘project’ through their speeches when standing on the political platform are not the colours that the common man sees as the colours of the ‘rainbow’ that best describe a poor man’s struggles in life.
We also have read time and again in social media and political columns about the richness of the attire that the highly ambitious ‘comrade’ drapes himself with. We must do thorough research on those who have one message for the public and live a life of the opposite when the politician’s dress comes off in the night.
The gap between the educated and uneducated can be bridged if there is a structured education programme. If this is done some of the ambitious newcomers to politics can set the stage for them to win at elections. But an alarming fact about education in this country is that some individuals holding lower-rung positions in the security business are earning more than teachers and even some lab assistants in government institutes. Another fact that needs scrutiny is a good many of the vital State institutes are still loyal to the political families, which wish to see the children belonging to their third generation enter politics.
This picture has to change if educated and ambitious politicians want to set foot in the corridors where powerful decision-makers walk and create a system change!
Disclaimer: Crafty lawmakers and the ‘gap’ they maintain - - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view