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Students are expected to be tolerant of political differences ahead of the elections

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By : Alexander Joshua Galen )*

Ahead of the election, students were given a message to be tolerant of political differences. They are novice voters so they are obliged to follow election procedures well and increase tolerance in order to create peaceful elections. One way is to increase national insight so that knowledge of statehood and the world of politics increases.

General elections (Pemilu) are important events that are held every 5 years and the people look forward to them enthusiastically, because they want to find new leadership candidates. Since the reform era, Indonesian citizens have been free to vote for presidential candidates, legislative candidates and political parties. As the election approaches, conduciveness continues to be maintained and everyone is encouraged to make the election peaceful.

Students are also encouraged to maintain election peace by increasing tolerance for political differences. They are beginner voters because they are only 17-18 years old. It would be good as novice voters for students to understand that differences in political party choices during elections are normal, so that peaceful elections can be realized.

Increasing students’ sense of tolerance is very important to prevent intolerance. The reason is because intolerance has the potential to increase ahead of the 2024 election because it is spread by radical groups. Intolerance is clearly dangerous because it has the potential to derail elections. Therefore, students are expected to increase their sense of tolerance and not insult other people who have different political party preferences.

Political observer Rival Rianda stated that intolerance and radicalism are increasingly spreading in society. They are made anxious because there are groups who justify their own opinions and then commit violence, on the grounds that the other party is in the wrong. In fact, this violence is dangerous because it can cause injuries and chaos in society, and can damage the implementation of elections.

One of the causes of intolerance in Indonesia is identity politics which prioritizes certain ethnicities or groups. Intolerance can trigger hatred towards relatives and other people. These include mocking other religions, only making friends with people of the same belief, mocking friends because of differences in skin color, and so on.

In that sense, students as part of society are expected to be wary of intolerance because it is dangerous for peace in Indonesia. As first-time voters, they are very vulnerable to being influenced by radical content on social media. Therefore, there needs to be outreach so that students become more tolerant ahead of the 2024 elections.

One way to prevent intolerance is to increase students’ understanding of cultural, religious and background diversity. Schools can organize activities that involve students from various backgrounds and cultures. Another way is to increase students’ national insight. 

Yohanes Hartono, an academic from Atmajaya University stated that national insight is the way the Indonesian people view themselves and their environment (their homeland) which prioritizes national unity and unity as well as regional unity based on Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, and the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. 

Yohanes continued, national insight must be a guide not only for citizens but also for state administrators, namely the executive, legislative and judiciary. National Insight is expected to provide awareness so that citizens respect each other’s differences of opinion or views and not impose their will (in the context of decision making prioritizing deliberation).

In this sense, students as Indonesian citizens are obliged to learn national insight as a guide to life as well as to increase tolerance. National insight is important to strengthen unity and integrity in national and state life. 

Especially ahead of the general election which will be held in 2024, there is a tendency for fake news to circulate widely on digital media. Therefore, joint efforts are needed to maintain unity and unity so as not to potentially lead to disintegration of the nation due to divisions in a very heterogeneous society.

Students are required to learn national insight in order to continue to unite to create peaceful elections. Even though they are still young, they can contribute to the election by voting in an orderly manner and ensuring that the election is peaceful. Students also avoid intolerance and always study national insight because they try to be good citizens.

Then, students are obliged to cultivate tolerance by respecting the holidays of people of other beliefs. If you don’t wish them a happy holiday then that’s okay, but when they are invited to a meal then it’s okay to come as a form of respect. They can be friends even though they have religious differences and don’t let these differences become an obstacle to realizing peaceful elections.

Students are encouraged to increase their national insight because it can increase tolerance. They are expected to avoid intolerance because it could result in social chaos that could potentially derail the 2024 elections. Students as novice voters must learn that differences in political party choices are normal in a democratic country like Indonesia.

)* The author is a Contributor to Suara Khatulistiwa

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