“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country” ~ John F. Kennedy
For years, our beautiful homeland has been wracked with conflict, instability and an imperfect system. For years, you, along with the rest of the country have bemoaned the state of affairs and the inability to make things right. The fact that no one with the ability and the will has stepped up to right the wrongs. Not forgetting that the people who did, were lost to us to the fires of enmity or the horrors of terrorism.
Of wrongs, there are many. Injustice, impunity and a culture of “thugs rule”. Where for decades, thugs and drug dealers have been protected and to some extent promoted. Protected from the law, protected from the wrath of the people. Promoted to sell their drugs and poison to our children. Knowing all of this, we are yet powerless to stem the tide. We read about these people. We see these people. Llike us, so do the authorities. Yet, nothing is done to any of them. Due process has become a joke. When being part of a police force means that honest policemen have to look away from the actions of these jackals, they too become jaded. Why try, when the only reward is demotion, transfer or dishonorable discharge?
To improve this situation, one must lead from example. Exemplary conduct and discipline inspires the same of subordinates. A clean and efficient civil service can only exist with dedicated individuals with a commitment to excellence. Where in the world can one find inspiration for such lofty goals in this current climate?
A government exists and functions FOR the people. The people do not exist to support the government. Therefore, the people get the government that they choose. Choose a dictator, and so you shall have it (pray that he or she would hold elections again to provide another choice later). Choose a progressive leader and you shall have far-sighted policies and economic prosperity.
Populism, promises and subsidies have become the bread that the public thrives on. Where does the money for subsidies come from? They are the fruit of the labors of the people. What is the point of a government subsidy of 10% on food and fuel when everyone pays 20% VAT?
Too rare, in the history of nations, are people given the opportunity to effect the change they want to see. Even fewer have been the occasions in which such change has been ushered in by people making the correct choice.
My fellow Sri Lankans, such an opportunity will be at hand on the 26th of January. For on that day, we are all free to choose a candidate to be our president. We have seen where the current economic policies and ambivalence to violence has led us. Do we need six more years of favoritism, cronyism, economic disasters, dead journalists and bloggers behind bars?
This is our time. This is our opportunity to rise up and make change happen. The power is with us, as the people to vote in for what we need. Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see”. I say vote for the change that you want to see. Make the change you want, happen. The power to do so is literally in your hands
The age of conflict for Sri Lanka has passed. Make the choice to usher in the peace and prosperity our nation and our people deserve. The time for voting based on parental or historical leanings is past. Now is the time. This is our time. Make it work.