It was simply disgraceful listening to our members of the opposition speak in Nugegoda yesterday, but let’s get some facts straight.
First of all, let’s be real about crowd size. MR was President of this country for almost a decade. Don’t be awestruck by the fact that he can bring 5,000 people to a rally. I mean this was a man who got 6 million votes in 2010 and and 5 million in 2015, if he can’t bring a fraction of that down to a supermarket car park that’s not normal, so let’s chill about the numbers.
Secondly, this country is a democracy. That’s all we’ve got. That’s why it stung really hard when MR changed the democratic terms in our constitution to run for an extra term of Presidency. In political science, that’s called a constitutional coup. It happened in Congo, it happened in Burundi, it happened in Zimbabwe, and it happened in Sri Lanka in 2014. That’s what we went down in political science textbooks as, a country with constitutional coups. That shifts us from a democracy to an autocracy. We restored our democracy through the 19th amendment in 2015 so a President won’t have those executive powers to blackmail a parliament into a constitutional coup again. And now to hear Kumara Welgama say “We will make Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa the Prime Minister in 2017” is a threat to our democracy. MR ran for President and Prime Minister and lost both elections. Not just once, but twice. The people rejected him multiple times but he just won’t give up. MR has gone from a king and a savior to the creepy ex-boyfriend who keeps following you down the Nugegoda bus stand. We just want to be like, “dude, stop following us, just give up and go start a new life and take your loser friends with you.” We have to agree that despite the many decades of corruption in this country, the racism, the sexism, the homophobia, all we have had is the fact that we can vote every 4/6 years and choose our representatives. And for someone to threaten the core principle this country is held together by is disgraceful. And we must not take that lightly.
Thirdly, the homophobia. There were kids coming home from tuition classes yesterday, there were kids watching the news last night, who heard the classless words of these full grown adults yesterday. The fact that they think calling someone homosexual is an insult alone shows their miseducation. You want to call this government a homosexual government? Great. Then, that’s what it is. And guess what our homosexual government got us GSP+, a $1.5 billion IMF allocation, restored our diplomatic ties, gave MR and his JO friends the the freedom to protest and disrupt people’s daily life just to make a political statement, without being blocked by barricades, shot at or picked up later that night by a white van. So I’ll take a homosexual government any day over your Rajapaksa-Welgama-Weerawansa straight masculine macho government that put us $64 billion in debt, killed teenagers when they protested for clean water and changed the words in the constitution to their benefit.
I know you have frustrations with this current government, most of us do. Politics is frustrating. Think about it, for the first time in our history two of the largest parties in the country, that have for many decades shared completely opposing political views, built on opposite values and have run against and attacked each other are working together; of course it’s going to be frustrating. And if we are to grow, we have to be frustrated, we have to be angry, and we have to demand more. But don’t make the mistake of mixing up the frustration you have with the current government with the fear you felt of the previous one. There’s a big difference and we have to acknowledge that.
All this being said, yesterday made me incredibly proud. I realized that today our democracy is stronger than it ever was. My country is the kind of country that an opposition party with a minority of support can exercise their freedom of assembly, without being arrested, or obstructed. Tolerance is a key part of democracy and yesterday it shun brighter than ever, and we have (in the words of the JO) our homosexual government to thank for it.