ITS SILLY SEASON IN JAMAICA

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PM Portia Simpson and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness. Pic courtesy Gleaner Publication 

It’s the beginning of the silly season in Jamaica. In reality, there seems to be #SillySeason year round as our government and opposition consistently do silly things, but the season takes on a special aura especially when elections are called.

The PM , who promised she would  not call elections until she was ‘touched by God’ finally got  the heavenly touch  and elected to ‘Step Up the Progress” on February 25, 2016.  The opposition disagreed claiming their vision was the right vision as they would take the country from “Poverty to Prosperity”. Both parties  laying out  two road maps that are as far apart as the East is to the west coast of Jamaica.

The divide between the parties  are not unusual. From our independence  both parties have colored themselves with different color of prosperity- The PNP choosing the color orange , the JLP green. These colors have become so politically engraved in the psyche of ordinary Jamaicans that many have died wearing them. The silly season takes no prisioners.

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Photo credit: Gleaner photograph. 

The colors represent battle grounds and despite calls and breakfast to pray for unity, during the season these colors never meet. Indeed it is not unusual that people of both parties refuse to even wear clothing of the colors for fear of being called a ‘sell out’ or accused of being a traitor. It was therefore not surprising when an image published by the Gleaner with supporters of both parities hugging and even kissing on the cheek made headlines. Was this a sign that Jamaicans can enjoy the season without fear or repercussions and more importantly co-exist peacefully despite their respective leader’s rhetoric?

This unusual display of unity proved only to be fantasy as no sooner than 24 hours later the leaders of the parties indicated that nothing has changed and silly season rhetoric took center stage on the political grand stand.

At issue is the agreement for both parties to participate in the National Debates and the ruling  PNP is refusing to participate because the PM , on one side is threatening lawsuits and demanding apologies to her integrity  and answers to personal matters relating to the Opposition leader and on the other Andrew Holness refusal to submit the answers and calling on his lawyers to protect his legal rights.

The lines are once again drawn. The supporters are hugging and kissing , the leaders are fighting with legal daggers drawn. I guess the best things in life are silly.

Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a Candidate of a political party; but  I just repeated my self .  To say I am disappointed is an understatement. Politics have no relation to morals. Our entire political history rebels at the thought of somehow giving politicians the power to control men’s minds.

This power was the cause of a torrid history of political violence that made the transition from the politics of violence to peaceful democracy a rather messy one. The name calling by the leaders does nothing to improve the understanding or move the political debate forward and they both know this. Consequently the refusal by the PNP to participate in the National Debates does nothing to advance their political trademark , ‘Step Up to Progress”.

Is it that the PNP seems to have found a political ploy: picking up whatever issue the JLP is vulnerable on and champion the cause? Is the real reason for this posturing a deliberate attempt to divert their own short-comings? The PM  knows the silly season has no morals and name calling is commonly practiced on both sides as cooking ackee with salt-fish.

Both are pandering to their side of the political divide and that only brews up continued political violence from the uneducated mass, and both parties have a surplus. Andrew by his comments clearly seems to be playing the man and not the politics and Portia, by her retisence is putting her feet in tepid waters of paranoia whereby the same uneducated mass will feel justified to turn to violence to remedy imagined threats.

In the silly season one thing is clear and that is political civility is not about being polite to each other . It is about reclaiming  the power of both JLP, PNP and all the other P’s to come together , debate the common good and call  the Jamaican democracy back to its highest values amid our differences.

The silly season does not have to be silly and the voters have already tasted that savory fruit as evident  in the picture above. In the very end this political stand off is only trumping one thing – Whose policies will serve Jamaica best? No debate means no answers. It would therefore seem the 51% of independents  may have a point to their stand off and refuse to participate in this political season of silliness.

No part of a politicians ego is more indispensable than fighting for an informed  electorate and ultimately peaceful elections.

Copyright © 2016 Kwesi. All Rights Reserved.

THE US DEMOCRATIC DEBATE- IF YOUTH KNEW, IF AGE COULD !

BERNIE

Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, and Hillary Clinton argue a point during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Bernie Saunders , the old guy from gun toting Vermont is beginning to sound a lot like #RoboMarco. Ok so I have heard the rallying cry, lets burn down the System. Come join me and the rest of the young hopefuls in revloutionizing the US to a Democratic Socialist country. Bang, bang, start the fires, sound the trumet , Lets #BernItDown!

Maybe if I was a 25 year old I would have jumped on the Bernie fire train. After all youth is suppoed to do just that- start the revolution. But older men declare the war and the youth will fight the battle and die. And there lies my porblem with this entire #FeelTheBern movement. It sounds a lot like the famous 200o Congressional  vote he uses as his stumping point, the #IraqToNowhereWar. This war Bernie is promoting will be the exact duplicate . the #BernieWarToNowhere.

He has the ideal, he just does not have the details. He uses the big “IF” last night and that word “IF’ tells me one thing- If Youth knew, If Age could!

Bernie has long ago saw the same frustrations most people have felt and are experiencing and that is the System is rigged. But how do you topple a System built on decades upon decades of virusies of illcit behavior? You take it one virus at a time.

Hillary is governed by careful thought and discipline. Steady as she goes she is in for the long haul. Bernie is guided by personal dreams of Napoleonic overtures of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality and the choas that wined and dined that revolution.

Is America ready for another war? Will Berrnie have the revolutionary army he so glibly alludes to in the debate yesterday? This is yet to see but if history can determine the outcome, I feel Bernie will be charging ahead with his tricolor and suddenly turning around and his revolutionary army is nowhere in sight.

Message to Bernie from Che Guevara: “The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall”.

Bernie to make it fall, you will have to make the entire America believe that the apple can fall, and there lies your problem. You are selling an ideal, not reality and idealism always loses to pragmatism when it comes to elections.

Kwesi. 2016. Copyright. All Rights Reserved.