Friday, November 02, 2007

Party politics, literally

Do not litter
It seems that voting in T & T 2007 has nothing to do with issues. It has to do with:
* which political party throws the better free fete/concert
* which party gives away the most t-shirts and has the glossiest-looking ads
* which party can worsen our litter problem by sticking up the most election posters
* which party can waste the most money on campaigns designed to bad-talk the other parties
* which party's supporters can best beat up and badly damage or kill other parties' supporters or candidates
* which party's supporters can deface the most buildings with fluorescent election graffiti
* which party's candidates can scream the loudest and get the hoarsest
* which party's members can make up the most creative stories about their rivals
* which party can bring in the biggest Jamaican dance hall artistes to endorse them and pull bigger youth crowds
* which party has the best soca jingle (even if sung by Jamaicans) and the loudest truck driving through the streets blaring it (I think right now 'Patos' has the road march)
* ... and so on.

TT's obsession with 'wine and jam' is considered 'we culture' regardless of the occasion. What is taken seriously in this nation? This 2007 election season is a Carnival: trucks driving through the streets, blaring campaign road marches, waving banners and causing a greater pile-up of traffic than normal. Recently I saw a man wining on the sidewalk, drunkenly waving a rag 'in de air' as election soca blared from a campaign truck at the traffic lights.

Over the weekend I was waiting on the sidewalk up East for the documentary crew. A drunkenly merry maxi tout (maybe in his late 20's, early 30's) came and started chatting me up.

He hopefully asked me: "Yuh going PNM rally" (which was on that day - Sunday - in the Q.P. Savannah).

I told him: "No."

He took a swig from his styrotex cup and said: "Well my head done nice and I goin! Dat is my vote, yuh know!" He then proceeded to tell me how he "working CEPEP", about how Patrick is the only person for PM and how "life in Trinidad sweet."

I asked him what makes life in Trinidad sweet and he said: "How yuh mean?! We free to do what we want! Nowhere else in de world yuh could be free so." (He then admitted that he had never been anywhere else in the world).

The initials of TT political parties are now like brand names on jeans or sneakers. Which one is trendy? People are buying what they feel is in fashion without caring about what material it is made from and how long it will last. PNM and UNC are pushing their brands with free fetes, expensive ads and desperate moves like whistle-stop' visits to Nelson Mandela in South Africa. COP says their youths will not be won over with free fetes, but with their sweat and tears. Being a nation of partying and bachanaal, is this what the average Trinbagonian youth wants to hear? Why must one work or be serious about change when 'free ting' is being handed out? Who wants a seemingly strict parent telling the nation to buckle up and do its homework ... when there are parents who, in their eagerness to win the children over, will spoil them with cheap toys and promises of trips to Wonderland.

I can't wait until 6th November when it is all over! Or who knows ... maybe that's when it will all begin.



Post a Comment

<< Home