Sunday, February 15, 2015

Party Done, Bacchanal Start...

Now that the party truly done it is time to get back down to the serious business of rescuing Trinidad & Tobago from the political quagmire it finds itself in. First off, the question MUST be asked, how is that in a country where the disenchantment with the two 'traditional' parities vying for support has eclipsed sixty percent and still we cannot find a real alternative to the ethnically based People's National movement and United National Congress? And when I say real alternative I mean something new, populated by new faces and not cast offs and rejects from those two dispensations, not another vehicle for recycled politicians but a real option that can capture the hearts and minds of the majority of citizens fed up of the change exchange? We have among our population some amazing thinkers, people of vibrant vision and principle who have demonstrated thus far their reluctance to trade spirit and craft for corruption and graft, so what is keeping those forces from entering into synchronous orbit?

Perhaps it is the same force that keeps a three ton elephant bound to a chain that it could break without effort, yet it never makes the effort. Like the picture of the horse tied to a Rubbermaid plastic chair, perhaps the memory of the rope is stronger than what the rope is tied to, rendering thinking beyond the reality of the rope futile? Or the long held belief from infancy that the chain could not be broken then so why would it break now? Well, we are neither infants, elephants nor horses and have within us the stuff to push past boundaries and break long held beliefs. This is a nation of people who have fled the poverty of nineteenth century Europe, the violence of the war torn Middle East and have conquered slavery, indentureship and colonialism. We are a people who have faced within our relatively young half century of existence two revulsions if not revolutions, both pregnant with enough violence to rip the nation and any semblance of plurality apart, yet here we still stand, together, so why not this?

Perhaps it is misplaced loyalty to parents and ancestors, we a people long tied to tradition more than anything else and many of whom would rather die than to upset our forebears, perhaps what we are tethered to is a loyalty to systems and circumstances that may have served needs generations and decades ago, but which really need to be confronted, exposed and discarded if we are to advance past the polarity of these two tribal forces.

The truth is the sugar belt no longer exists, and people of East Indian origin are no longer the recalcitrant minority they were once accused of being. Further, they have triumphed past every obstacle, so to have an indo-based party professing strength based on racial togetherness no longer serves any real purpose to that community. Similarly, the grand children of Africa to whom the People's National Movement was held out as a home have been so betrayed by that organization that even the most cursory glance at the circumstances of the majority of the die hards that hold that party's existence in their hands is to witness a tale of deceit and 'mamaguism' so complete it is almost heart rending. For a country that has boastfully earned and spent a quarter of a trillion dollars in fifty years, who can explain the dismal fortunes of the people of Morvant, Beetham, Laventille, Sea Lots, Richplain, Mercer, Bagatelle, L'anse Mitan and Patna Village, just to name a few?

Everyone knows the story of the frog that gives in to the repeated requests from the scorpion and agrees to transport it across the river only to be stung to death half way across, and to whose dying cries of “why?” is answered by the terse “I'm a scorpion, this is what scorpions do.” Who really expects anything different this time around from a PNM historically rooted in corruption, nepotism and theft? Similarly, putting aside all the deflecting rhetoric that seeks to answer why the UNC uses every opportunity at public office to raid the treasury, why would anyone want to trust that party with power again?

And if all I have just stated is the reason for the overwhelming disenchantment with them both, what is keeping us as a nation so bound to such a despicable choice? The answer is of course, us. We, the people of Trinidad & Tobago who put more effort into every Carnival than the Americans put into putting a man on the moon, we are to blame. Our priorities are so skewed we fail to see that the morality politics has is a reflection of our own. At last count the amount of people wanting nothing to do with either the UNC or the PNM was more than sixty percent. Perhaps the post-Carnival and pre-election conversation should start there, framed with a question, where do we go from here?

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