I Am Not an Anwarista
Roughly half of all Malaysians support the Anwar Ibrahim-led Pakatan Rakyat coalition, but for some reason, in the minds of a few, this means roughly half of all Malaysians are "Anwaristas". While there is no question that many Pakatan supporters are slavish supporters of Anwar, I think it is as offensive to label Pakatan supporters Anwaristas as it would be to call Barisan Nasional supporters Mahathiristas or Abdullahistas.
When people take sides in politics, it is rarely, if ever, the case that they truly support their chosen side 100%. There will always be doubts, always be questions, and always the potential for disagreement. I may support Anwar and Pakatan, but that does not mean I always agree with them or their actions.
An Anwarista is simply someone who would support Anwar no matter what. Even if Anwar turned out to be a total lying bastard, they would be behind him till the very bitter end. To call someone an Anwarista is to suggest that they have no mind of their own, that they have been so swayed by someone's charisma that they would follow him to the end of the earth.
I am sure there are many Anwaristas out there. Anwar is a charismatic politician, and that by definition means he will have a corps of devoted supporters. But for all the Anwaristas out there, how many Mahathiristas or Abdullahistas do we actually have?
A fairly large number, I would say. Try reading the comments on Mahathir's blog, or the comments on UMNO message boards. You get the sense that even if Mahathir or Abdullah told their followers to eat shit, they would do it without questions asked. No matter how badly these men screw up, no matter how stupid the things they say are, they will have an audience of supporters behind them all the way. Is it really fair to Anwar to bash him alone for having a club of mindless fans when his counterparts have exactly the same kind of people in their camp?
Of course not — and neither is it fair to the supporters of either side who made their choice based on rational thinking. I have many friends who think Abdullah and Mahathir have done right by our country. I think Anwar is the best of the limited options we have at the moment to lead the country. To equate our positions with the mindless blathering of Anwaristas or Mahathiristas is akin to saying that rationally proving 2 + 2 = 4 is exactly the same as feeling 2 + 2 ought to equal 4 because of the shapes of the numbers. Or to put it more simply, you are comparing apples and oranges.
Some people make up their minds; others choose with their hearts. Even if we make the same choice, that tells you nothing about how we arrived at our decision. Whether I support Anwar, Mahathir, Abdullah, Najib, or a feces-eating monkey, I ask you to judge me not by others, but by myself.
Some Anwar supporters may be Anwaristas, but I am not an Anwarista. I see the flaws in Anwar all too clearly. But as imperfect as he is, he is at the moment the best realistic choice we have to lead our country. I do not think he or the parties he leads are above criticism. But I believe he is the best chance we have to make a change for the better.