Politically, the reconciliation bill proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung makes the most sense: Absolve all those involved in and prosecuted for political offences since 2006.
Such a bill, if enacted, would afford the cleanest cut the country could possibly make from its all-too-burdensome past full of discord and bad blood.
The law would be based on the same concept of decoupling if you are in international diplomacy, or cutting your losses if you are in business.
It's how things are usually handled when they start to spin out of control. Have a clean break. Start afresh.
Mr Chalerm's reconciliation proposal is the only one that is consistent in its principle of granting a political pardon. His six-point bill seeks to absolve everyone of charges stemming from the 2006 coup - no exceptions - while those bills proposed by others insist that protest leaders and government officials are not pardoned.
The need to have exemptions is understandable - society wants to see itself as having advanced from past political conflicts in which blanket pardons were issued to both protesters and those behind the crackdowns.
Society - particularly the families of people who lost their loved ones in protests since 2006 - wants to see someone held accountable this time round, and to ensure that such atrocities will not be allowed to happen again.
That is why some red-shirt supporters are upset with Mr Chalerm's proposal. His bill, if passed, would absolve then-prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban - who most red shirts view as being responsible for the more than 90 deaths during the 2010 clashes - of any wrongdoing.
That is also why Mr Chalerm's proposal, despite being the most expedient one politically, is unlikely to win the day.
I must note that this anti-amnesty sentiment is the same that prevailed after Black May in 1992. Back then, protest leaders including Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang and student leader Parinya Thewanaruemitkul insisted they did not agree with, nor want to benefit from a blanket pardon - they would rather face any criminal charges brought against them.
Eventually, the government of Gen Suchinda Kraprayoon issued a blanket pardon anyway for all protesters and state authorities involved in the crackdown on May 17-19, 1992, which resulted in more than 40 deaths.
Gen Suchinda issued this pardon just one day before he resigned from his post and paved the way for a new election - a return to normalcy, so to speak.
The question is, if the idea is to acquit people who have been turned into "criminals" because they were somehow caught up in political conflicts, why should the "leaders", no matter what side they are on, be excluded from the same law?
Why should protest leaders be held against a more stringent legal standard than people who followed them if they shared the same cause, marched to the same tune and committed similar offences?
Also, the goal of the political pardon bill is not to let bygones be bygones. If it's true to its "reconciliation" name, and an enactment of the law forges a process of national reconciliation - which its drafters must assume is not possible without a political clean slate - an exception for the "leaders" who remain active as key players in today's politics will not help.
Supporters of a political cause do not see justice as being applied only to themselves, but also to people they consider their leaders. Will the red shirts stop demanding "justice" if their leaders end up being prosecuted for terrorism? Will Mr Abhisit's supporters settle down and be content if the former prime minister turns out to be the only person held responsible for the deaths in 2010?
Even though ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra told his red-shirt supporters to get behind the amnesty bill proposed by Worachai Hema - which seeks to acquit people involved in political violence since 2006, except protest leaders and those responsible for the crackdown on demonstrators - it does not mean the bill will be passed without question or resistance.
The truth is that society remains too deeply divided, probably more so now than for the past several years, to be patched up by a single amnesty law.
If anything, such a law will only cause the rift to become deeper and wider.
Atiya Achakulwisut is Deputy Editor, Bangkok Post.
About the author
- Writer: Atiya Achakulwisut
Position: Deputy Editor (Day)