Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wati Calls the Election . . .

Wati’s correspondence over the past few days has been rather despairing, but she’s perked up considerably since last night’s presidential debates, in which Jokowi apparently did well, while Prabowo . . . not so much.   

Going into the debates, Wati was thinking that she was one of the reported 40% “swing voters . . .“ until she heard Prabowo invoke the name of Sukarno for his own benefit :“And when in his speech Prabowo said "on behalf of Soekarno. . . : slip of the tongue? more likely of his spirit.  To me, this is proof that he believes that “the end justifies the means" ie.  at the lowest point  in a person’s integrity.”
Then she reported that Prabowo had received support from FPI, Front Pembela Islam/ Islamic Defenders Front, a truly charming paramilitary “religious” group that is so vile, thuggish and hate-based that nearly everyone in Indonesia wants them banned.   So, good on you, there, Prabowo.  However: think of what that would mean if he were elected. The Jakarta Post simultaneously printed an article called “Pluralism in Peril,” citing an invitation for political leaders to a  meeting in a mosque in Gedhe Kauman, Yogya “to urge the Muslim community to unite to fight against pluralism."  Because differing opinions require so much more silencing, don’t you know.

Watil also showed me an email from a friend who says “I had lunch with our mutual friend Bu Mara and was surprised when she said that she supports Prabowo. I immediately kept my big mouth shut! She assured us that P is a changed man, he is really passionate to take Indonesia to the next level (or the lower level, ya?). When asked about the rumor that he is courting Widyawati (the ex movie star) to be his wife, she said that's not true. She thinks that P will win. Gosh it is indeed scary. He is a good speaker though-- as I listened to his first speech after being confirmed as the presidential candidate. Jokowi on the other hand still trying to portray the rakyat (trying to show he’s a man of the people) and is too simple for a Capres/candidate.
So our hope is still dim.

So it was looking grim until the first debate, where Wati reported that “to my surprise Jokowi did very well. Not only in his answers, but also he and Jusef Kalla (running mate) wore black suits with red ties and wore no "pici" while Prabowo and Hatta Rahardja wore white (as in Muslim) shirts and pants with "pici."

Indonesia’s vice presidential candidate Hatta Rajasa (L) greets presidential candidate Joko Widodo (2nd L), while presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto (2nd R) greets vice presidential candidate Jusuf Kalla, before their presidential debate in Jakarta on June 9.    Reuters

“Jokowi looked sophisticated --far from being a "country bumpkin" like his opponents called him.
With confidence he elaborated his achievements as mayor in Solo and as governor in Jakarta.
Most important was when he stated that "Bhineka Tunggal Ika" or unity in diversity is FINAL, this could no longer be a matter for discussion as this was the foundation of our founding fathers when they fought and declared Indonesia’s independence.
He gave an example of this: when as Jkt governor he chose Susan, a Chinese and Christian woman to be a "lurah" in Lenteng Agung, whose majority of residents are Muslim.
There have been demonstrations and protests against his decision but he stood by it, as she is indeed a capable person.

Prabowo did poorly tonight. So as one of the 40% swing voters I might "ignore" JK’s sins and cast my vote for Jokowi...?!”

And there you have it!

See also the Wall Street Journal:

and the Jakarta Post:

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