Jokowi, Promise, and Our Double Standard

One day, one of my friends asked my opinion about divorce in marriage. Since in Indonesia marriage is both about religious and legal matter, I answered that I did not support divorce because in my religion, the couple had promised to be with each other until death separates them. A further question is then raised: how if the reality insists them to do so? My answer is clear: that is why you need to know each other before performing your marriage because once you have promised; you are not liable to take it back.

Promise and double standard

Talking about promise is important nowadays because it seems that it is rather easy to merely say about it than realizing what has been promised. As Indonesians, the main reason why we demonstrate against legislative members is because they fail to fulfill their promise once they campaigned to obtain the legislative seat. This is also the reason why we are easily bored with political campaign: it is because we no longer need promises out from the legislative candidates; people just want them to work and prove that they are able to perform their duty well.

Recently, heat tension in Indonesia political circumstance is rising especially because Jokowi has been formally announced as the presidential candidate from PDI-P, the main opposition party. Social media and online forums are also divided into two main blocks: those who do and don’t support Jokowi as candidate for RI 1. The ongoing tension is further escalated by one forum in Kaskus showing how Jokowi is allegedly involved in several corruption cases in Solo. Unfortunately, the writer does not cite any credible source backing his/her hypothesis. With this increasing debate and tension, a simple question is worth to ask: does Jokowi deserve to be a president?

When Jokowi was going to compete for Jakarta Governor, I was actually one of his fans. It is quite rare to see a leader who is able to mingle with his grass-root society, hearing their complaints and then very decisive in taking decision. As Jakartans, I feel bureaucracy reform is moving so fast. Once we face unimportant difficulties in obtaining any kind of permits, for example, we just send text message to the leaders and everything will be alright for the next days. Up to now, I can still feel positive reactions in respect to our new leaders in Jakarta despite the prevailing of several problems such as flood and traffic gridlock which in my opinion cannot be easily solved just by purely relying on the Jakarta’s new leaders.

But, could this achievement be justified as a strong basis to support Jokowi as a president? I think the answer is quite clear: no. The problem is not located on doubt about his capability for bringing good reform. Furthermore, alleged corruption as posted on Kaskus cannot also be justified to thrown out him from his presidential candidate. The main problem is located on his promise to lead Jakarta for 5 years once he said during his governor election. I would like to ask: why does not he fulfill his promise?

Many answers can be taken up to surface and there are two main answers that is mostly cited in social media: (1) if Jokowi leads Indonesia, it will be easy for Ahok to handle Jakarta and there will be no more recrimination between Central and Jakarta Government and (2) if Jokowi is not nominated, who should we vote for? Both of these answers do seem to undermine the promise that Jokowi had made when he was going to be Jakarta Governor. I rather ask them question: why do we often demonstrate against our government officials once they could not fulfill their promise and when Jokowi does similar thing, why rather we seek justification to support it? Have not we applied double standard in this political matter? We tighten the standard for the legislative members and loosen it toward Jokowi. Furthermore, as cited in, Jokowi said that as long as Indonesia Constitution permits him to be a presidential candidate, everything will be alright. By saying so, in my opinion, he just undermines his position as a true leader who should have taken seriously what he has promised. He just undermines his uniqueness that I am looking for a true leader. And lastly, it does seem that he is indifferent with usual politicians who just like to give promise without further realization and just sell out his conscience to political party.

I am not in the opposition toward Jokowi. It is because I am his fan that I think I need to urge him to fulfill his promise as Jakarta Governor for 5 years. Moreover, by siting longer as Jakarta Governor, I think he will be more ready to prepare his subordinates once he takes up throne as Indonesian President. Thus, everything will be better once he becomes a President and less people would oppose his candidacy.

Thus, to Mr. Jokowi and all Indonesians, I just want to insist one thing: a promise is a promise. We just cannot put a double standard just because we have achieved something. And just because it is legal under Indonesia Constitution, it does not mean you are wise to do so. As in marriage condition: even if reality insists you to divorce, the best way to deal with it is to counter the submission because you have promised to be with your partner forever. You have given your promise and you are subject to fulfill it. If promise is then no longer exalted, then people will be very easy to promise everything without thinking and make any decision without proper calculation.

The last say toward Jokowi: at least I know that you are merely a usual politician, not that extraordinary because the extraordinary one is those who can hold on to his/her promise because it is the rarest character ever.