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Avoid Identity Politics and It’s Time to Realize Idea Politics


By: Safira Tri Ningsih )*

The 2024 election is in sight and will soon enter the campaign period. The public is given a message to avoid identity politics, which is an action that highlights a particular ethnicity or identity. Identity politics should be replaced with political ideas that do not look at a person’s background.

The campaign period is a thrilling period, because people see the promotion of presidential candidates (Capres) and parties in Indonesia. They are then waiting for the winning party and presidential candidates, because in 2024 Indonesia will have a new president. 

But unfortunately, during the campaign period, identity politics was present. Where there are political actions that highlight certain backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures. Political observer Achmad Fachrudin states that identity politics is a political movement that involves a person or group that has the same characteristics, for example ethnicity, gender, etc. The goal is to achieve power or position.

For example, there is a presidential candidate A who comes from a hereditary citizen and is a foreign graduate. There are also presidential candidates who are native to Indonesia who highlight their experiences as leaders in a city.

Identity politics is very dangerous because people who don’t share the same belief or ethnicity are enemies. It can even be used by a politician to bring down his political opponent. You do this by leading public opinion that a presidential candidate is unfit to be a leader because he comes from a certain ethnicity. 

When there is a campaign that uses identity politics, it is dangerous because it can lead to discrimination and racism. There is a stereotype that thinks that presidential candidates who come from a certain ethnicity are stingy, emotional, etc. Even though those were just accusations that were not based on facts, and were made by provocateurs who wanted to disrupt the election period in Indonesia.

Identity politics can divide a nation because people are separated into several factions. There are those who defend certain presidential candidates who are considered religious, while there are those who love certain nationalist parties. 

The excessive love for the presidential candidate, coupled with the identity politics used by his team, has made the people bicker and hostile, even after the election ended. Differences are normal and are not an issue, but because of identity politics, differences cause conflict and undermine peace in Indonesia. 

People must avoid identity politics if they want the 2024 elections to run smoothly. Don’t be taken in by the propaganda spread by provocateurs, who say that presidential candidates with certain ethnicities do not have the ability to lead Indonesia. 

Therefore, people are urged to avoid identity politics and turn to political ideas. Political observer Djayadi Hanan states that the politics of ideas is when one does not see one’s background. What is seen is the idea, not the ethnicity or belief. When the idea is seen as good, it will be supported by the people.

Djayadi added, to socialize political ideas, political parties must initiate it. The party’s campaign is carried out with good ideas, for example clean and caring. There is also a campaign to encourage young Indonesians to continue entrepreneurship because MSMEs are the backbone of the country’s economy.

In a sense, the campaign does not prioritize the educational or ethnic background of a particular presidential candidate. But tell the ideas brought by him. For example, he wants to eradicate poverty in Indonesia by establishing free schools and providing scholarships. He also supports MSME entrepreneurs by promoting on his social media accounts.

It is time for political ideas to replace identity politics because identity politics is stale. In the era of reform and information technology, there is no link between ethnicity or a certain background with the ability to become a leader. What is seen is the idea and its embodiment to advance Indonesia.

For example, during the New Order era, there was an opinion that a leader must come from a certain presidential candidate or have experience in leading in a disciplined manner. Even though in the reform era it was evident that there were presidents who did not have these criteria, but succeeded in stabilizing Indonesia’s economic conditions after the monetary crisis.

But Djayadi reminded not only to express ideas, but also to make them happen. The promises made by political parties and presidential candidates must be kept when they win the election. When promises are kept, the people will always respect the government and will not abstain from voting in the next election.

The public already understands which parties and presidential candidates carry political ideas, and which ones are still struggling with identity politics. They have become smarter in choosing parties and candidates for president, who are pro-people, anti-poverty, and have a strong determination to lead Indonesia. Instead of using identity politics to seek sympathy and just want to enrich themselves.

Identity politics is very dangerous because it can divide the nation, because when there are people with different beliefs, backgrounds or ethnicities they will be made enemies. Therefore, identity politics must be replaced with political ideas that see the idea of ​​a presidential candidate as a promise to be kept. With his ideas, he is optimistic that Indonesia will be even more advanced.

)* The author is a contributor to the Daris Pustaka Contributor

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