What exactly does supporting a party mean?
I simply put it this way – if I can contribute in any way be it effort, time or money, then I define it as a support. This could simply translate to helping with campaigns, fund raising, strategies, policies etc – basically the whole nine yards.
Does this mean this support is unbiased and unconditional?
Absolutely not, at least not for me. If there is anything that I believe is wrong with any of the party decisions or their policies or any other controversies, I would raise my voice, put up a fight. Whether I succeed or not it’s not entirely in my hands, but to give it my best effort is in my hands. So irrespective of the outcome, I think this process is really important since this could lead to really making a party to have a strong internal democracy, which is what is lacking in most of the parties. The RTI campaign that I was part of was a very good example where the MP’s although had a very good opinion but refused to express it for the fear of backlash.
It’s not necessary that I’m right and the party is always wrong, it could go either way but at the end of the day both of us grow together and learn from it. The danger is when this process ceases to exist or the learning is stalled, that’s when i think it becomes really complicated – may not be for the party but the individual
Does supporting one party imply that the other parties should be ridiculed?
I’ve a very strong objection to this kind of maligning one another. If anything it should be an opposition to their policies or their decisions and less about individual attacks, that is strictly based on facts. This is definitely not as straight forward searching for the facts on the internet because it’s a wild wild west and you never really know what is correct or what isn’t. But once I started this process I learnt and developed my own ways to filter, process information and depending on what I can infer, I go ahead with that. I did go wrong many a times but only I’m to be blamed for this, so I still have an opportunity to learn from it and only get better.
Is this approach too idealistic?
It’s not, it’s actually more practical. Different people support different things for different reasons. There can never be a common denominator for this and since none of the supporters have this common ground to judge their support cannot be as simple as it seems. But yes, if there is anything glaringly wrong, then by all means, as I said above, it should opposed, condemned not just in words but also in action.
One thing that should be avoided at all costs is getting divided over these political issues. There is enough hatred around us, there is enough negativity amongst us, we don’t need to add on to this.
It’s good to have a healthy debate and discussion but this should not lead to a stalemate where the differences cannot be reconciled instead should yield to some action that can still encourage this kind of engagement and keep things moving forward. This is not always possible but that’s when we need to show our maturity and agree to disagree and still be able to work together. If we cannot develop this maturity or tolerance towards each other, then we don’t have the right to criticize the pepper spray minister because they have a lot more at stake than most of us.
Party, individuals and it’s system: how should this engagement be?
In my humble opinion, we should work with the individuals to create a system that can protect the party from swaying away from its end goals. Once the system is created and further strengthened then it will take care of weeding out the bad elements from the party or it would create an environment where they would not survive anyways.
No matter which party I/We support there is a great responsibility which lies with us and that is to not support the party just because I/We are supporters or volunteers but to constantly engage with them to make them accountable, transparent, non corrupt and remain people centric. The moment we fail to do this, we not only fail the parties we support, we also fail ourselves.