Opinion: Our political class and political culture must change after the pandemic

On Sunday, the government decided to extend its lockdown decree until the end of August. According to the doctors working at the Ministry of Public Health, the lockdown has prevented the number of infections from reaching uncontrollable highs.

The doctors say that the lockdown is working even as Covid-19 numbers climb higher every day.

But many experts inside the ministry and in hospitals around the country admit that the time for prevention is over and all they can do now is mitigate the crisis. According to public health experts, the only thing that will save the country now is mass immunization through vaccination.

If that doesn’t work then there will have to be herd immunity through mass infection – something that we’re unfortunately on our way toward.

Obviously, no one wants to see latter scenario because with mass infections there will be mass fatalities. Already, images of dead and dying Thais on the streets of Bangkok have shocked the nation to its core. But what has been so frustrating for many of us is that the pace of vaccination has been so slow.

Rather than act quickly, Thailand has now been reduced to a nation of paupers with our foreign affairs ministry instructed to beg for vaccines from more developed countries around the world.

Had we had a more coherent vaccination program, we would not be put in such an embarrassing situation. This government, specifically the generals that head it, came into power promising to civilize the country. Heck, a party that has allied itself with the ruling coalition promised in its campaign rhetoric to civilize the nation.

But a civilized nation plans ahead while a primitive one does not. A developed nation isn’t run by a political class that seems more intent on personal gains and self interest than the country’s wellbeing. A developed nation has people in government that care about the outcome of their governance, a banana republic has politicians that only care about staying in power.

We may never know why we have this insistence on relying on Siam Bioscience or why we keep ordering Sinovac vaccines, that may be a closely guarded secret that will never be revealed by the political class.

But we must lament and reform the bureaucracy and the political system of our country that allows such incompetence to stay in power.

Say what you want about the Republican and Democrat parties in the United States but at least their politicians, for the most part, truly believe that their political beliefs will shape their country for the better.

Do our politicians even have political beliefs?

Or is it a pu pu platter of electoral promises designed to get them elected so they can reap the most rewards from corruption and cronyism.

Something must change, and it must change soon because if another crisis does come our way, I do not know how our country will survive.


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