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Beware of Radicalism and Identity Politics Ahead of the 2024 Election


By : Vania Salsabila Pratama )*

Radicalism and identity politics are things to watch out for ahead of the 2024 elections. With collective awareness to reject this, it is believed that the 2024 elections will run smoothly. 

The elections will be held on February 14 2024. Next year’s elections are highly anticipated because many people are curious about the new president who will replace President Jokowi, who is almost retired. Elections are a program once every 5 years and are called a democratic festival, because they are an opportunity to uphold democracy in this country.

However, the election is threatened by radicalism which has the potential to derail this program. The public is advised to be aware of radicalism so that they are not influenced by, or even become members of, radical and terrorist groups. Radicalism is dangerous because it can damage the country and disrupt the 2024 elections.

Political observer Ahmad Sihabudin stated that radical groups massively produce a variety of radical and terrorist content. One of the characteristics of social media is that it is open, so that information about radicalism is spread widely without any geographical or demographic barriers. 

Ahmad Sihabudin continued, radical ideology can flourish among social media users in Indonesia. International terrorist groups such as ISIS have used social media to influence netizens throughout the world, including Indonesia. Therefore, the public must be wary of the spread of radical content in cyberspace, especially ahead of the 2024 election.

According to a survey from We Are Social, social media has become mainstream media for society. At least until January 2023, the number of active social media users in Indonesia was recorded at 167 million people. Meanwhile, the average time Indonesian people spend on social media is 3 hours 18 minutes every day.

The large amount of radical content on social media is very disturbing because it has the potential to derail the 2024 elections. Imagine when 167 million Indonesians read and watch radical content on social media, some of them will be affected. Moreover, according to psychology, netizens believe in content in cyberspace because their brains are in a relaxed state.

When people are poisoned by radicalism, they will be led through their subconscious. They slowly believe that the government is bad and whoever is president will be the same. Being skeptical like this is dangerous because it will increase the abstention rate (white group) in Indonesia.

When many people abstain, it will threaten democracy and have the potential to derail the 2024 elections. Therefore, the public is advised to avoid radical content and be wary of terrorism issues on social media. Don’t be influenced by radicalism and become a bad citizen, wasting the opportunity to vote in the 2024 election.

To prevent the spread of radicalism, the public can immediately report to the cyber police if they find radical and terrorist content. Once reported, it will be investigated and the content deleted by the social media manager. Later, the cyber police will work together with the National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) to find out who uploaded and created the radical content.

Meanwhile, identity politics also threatens the 2024 elections. The issue of identity politics has attracted the attention of one of the DIY Islamic Mass Organization figures, namely Ustad Umar Said. He hopes that people can restrain themselves. That way, there will be no turmoil in the 2024 elections that could usher in a regulationcahan.

Ustad Umar Said stated that in fact division could not be tolerated at any annual stage of the elections. He hopes that no group or group will raise the issue of identity politics. Because this can cause polarization in society. 

Ustad Umar also hopes that no presidential or legislative candidates will campaign using identity politics. All participants in the 2024 Election must act wisely when making statements to the public. Don’t let this statement lead public opinion into the realm of division, and politicians must be able to control themselves.

In that sense, identity politics is dangerous because it is used as a wrong campaign tool. Where a legislative candidate shows his identity as a certain superior tribe/group, with the hope of attracting interest from voters of the same ethnicity. However, identity politics became  a blunder  because other tribes/groups felt they did not accept it and ultimately sparked hostility during the 2024 election campaign.

Identity politics is very dangerous because it can consider people who do not share the same belief or ethnicity as enemies. It can even be used by a politician to bring down his political opponents. The way to do this is by leading public opinion that a presidential candidate is not worthy of being a leader because he comes from a certain ethnicity. 

The public is asked to be wary of radicalism because it has the potential to derail the 2024 elections. Apart from that, identity politics must also be avoided, because it can divide the Indonesian people. Unity must be prioritized and no party should raise issues of identity politics, and radicalism must be eradicated so that there are no attacks from terrorist groups in cyberspace.

)* The author is a contributor to Ruang Baca Nusantara

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