Thailand’s traditionalists yearned for the 1980s when the dual power of the monarchy and the military was at its height; this was a time of relative peace and economic growth.
King Rama 9 was the nation’s heart and soul, while General Prem Tinsulanonda was the prime minister who ran the show. The elected parliament was the subordinate.
A consequence of the Cold War
The Cold War spanned between the Truman Doctrine in 1947 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. During the period, Thailand was, as with much of the “Third World,” a pawn in the global geopolitical war game between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The former propped up dictators to suppress socialist revolutions engineered by the latter. The casualty was democracy.
30 years passed the expiration date
Since the 1930s, Thailand suffered through a string of military dictators. There were social upheavals, namely the 14 October 1973 uprising against military dictatorship and the 6 October 1976 massacre of pro-democracy activists.
In the 1980s, the king and the general stabilized the nation. Some call it “the golden period,” which is why many traditionalists want to turn back time.
But in the year 2020, the system no longer applies; it should have expired with the Cold War. It’s a much different world that we live in today.
If the past month has shown us anything, even high school students understand its unsustainability in the modern world.
Time machine does not exist
Traditionalists want to turn back to the clock to the golden era of the king and the general. But it’s impossible, not least of which because not all kings and generals are the same.
There’s only one path, and that is to move forward. The protestors are not demanding Thailand to move forward without the monarchy.
Despite the fear and paranoia of traditionalists fueled by propaganda machine intent on creating division and hatred, there’s no nation-hating, no defaming the monarchy and certainly no overthrowing of the monarchy.
The democracy activists want Thailand to move forward with the monarchy.
What the pro-democracy protestors want
The goal of their demands, issued on the 16 August 2020, in the English language, is this:
“A democratic form of government with the Monarchy truly under the constitution.”
They took the time to capitalize on “M,” but they also stress the importance of “truly,” however the essence of the statement is “under.”
In a democracy, no one is above the law
Everyone is subjected to the checks and balances of democracy.
Thailand must move forward, with the king as the head of state. At the same time, all citizens enjoy rights, liberty, equality, and, most importantly, the generals stay in the barracks and take orders from the civilian government.
The one that is elected by the people.