This paper has tried over the years not to give in to the waves of pessimism that have swept the country. We have refrained from repeating jaded clich?s about feckless politicians, and tried not to spread scepticism about the future. We have spoken out against those who use violence as a political weapon, for tolerance and inclusion, and for democracy.
Even so, every now and then, we despair at the calibre of our top political leadership, their lack of self-esteem, their chronic paranoia, their inability to rise above narrow partisan rhetoric, and how they squander hard-won freedoms.
Every time they open their mouths, they run someone down. In every corrosive speech, the leaders of the UML, the NC, or the Maoists blame each other. When they meet Kathmandu-based ambassadors or leaders in New Delhi they backbite about their colleagues, instead of coming up with viable strategies to take the country forward. No wonder King Gyanendra doesn't look that worried.
In times like these, there is always the temptation to look for another knight in shining armour to rescue us from the mess.
We've tried that before. It doesn't work. The knights usually end up being despots.
Our best bet is to leave it up to the multi-partisan, pragmatic, and pluralistic members of the interim parliament and its committees who are toiling behind the scenes to come up with the political compromises that will unlock the current stalemate on representation, electoral constituencies, and amendments to the constitution. Their work rarely gets the headlines, and maybe it is better that way, so there is less temptation to grandstand.
If it weren't for them, we'd be left with the holy trinity of GPK, MKN, and PKD and be in an even bigger mess than we are now. The three obviously decided this week that they'd gone too far and had become objects of public ridicule. So they've patched up and promised not to call each others names in public.
Maybe now they will show collective responsibility to think beyond being just kangresis, emaleys, and maobadis and look at the national interest. Will they put their individual political agendas on the backburner for now, to find the middle ground on the madhes, proportional representation, announcing an election date?
Chairman Dahal is talking ominously about "a final battle" in the tarai. He is obviously still finding it difficult to rein in his guerrillas-in-YCL-clothing and convince them that the intimidation and militancy is ruining Maoist chances in polls. Ian Martin is right to ask for clarification about the YCL chain of command. And until we get an answer about the Red Guards, it is clear that clean polls are not possible.