The UDD claims to be fighting for democracy, backing Yingluck's insistence that she must stay in office to protect democracy. The red shirts are behaving like terrorists against the PDRC, which claims it wants to establish democracy.
So the two groups seem to have much in common: they both cherish democracy. The problem is that nobody seems to understand what democracy is. Look back over the last 82 years and you get a clear illustration that Thailand is not a democracy.
The vitriol on both sides now is a symptom of the underlying lack of understanding of what constitutes democracy. Solve this problem with a clear definition of democracy and there should be common ground. The current situation then ceases to be a moral issue and becomes truly political within a democratic framework. Democracy is adversarial by nature, as is its judicial system: problems are resolved by argument and debate. It is this very right to freedom of expression that paradoxically produces social cohesion: people have to accept the control imposed by democratic principles.
So why not start with a clear definition of democracy, one that cannot be disputed and by which both sides can come together and move on? Perhaps monasteries could help this effort to develop society by spending more time teaching the Lord Buddha’s principles and less on building more and more temples filled with effigies.
While Thailand is potentially a great country, the lack of education is a fundamental barrier to its development.