Sunday, March 8, 2015

Party Done?

Two things happened this past week that were instructive to the direction of the politics, and while they did not make the earth shake, future history should come back to this place to find where the ground shifted.

First off was the first in a proposed and promised series of meetings planned by the Congress of the People to demonstrate to all and sundry that they are, in fact, not dead, and this more than anything was the subtext of the speech by that party's political leader. Citing that others had written death certificates for that party before, the leader brushed past surmising as to why this might be a new national past time he instead accelerated his desire that the conversation be changed to show a vibrant and alive COP. But something gave the ruse away. TV6 reporter Kejan Haynes 'tweeted' (sent a post to Twitter on social media) that no media covered the event. That there was not even a highlight being shared anywhere. That for all intents and purposes, outside of the group of people enthusiastically waving flags on cue, no one else in the country seemed to care. Strange for the launch of a national party's political campaign, especially a party that is already IN government, stranger still was that no one at the event was sharing their excitement with anyone else. Not a post or a picture on Facebook not Instagram, not a comment on the commentary, not a shot of the excited crowds, no 'selfies' or even group shots, nothing, begging the question as to whether the crowd in the photos sold to us as having been there were there of their own free will, as there was not even an indication that something was taking place on the Congress of the People's very own and enthusiastically administrated social media group. Isn't that strange?.

Contrast and compare that to the reaction to Saturday evening's news of rumors of possible launch of a new party built simply on the gathering of people at a home in Maraval. No media were invited, no press releases sent out, yet this became the top and in depth stories on both leading evening news shows and set off a firestorm of activity on social media, long conversations as to the changing political wind, attacks by party stalwarts and defences by people who had nothing yet to defend other than their right to choose something different than the established status quo, just on a bunch of people getting together to chat.

Perhaps, and I admit to presuming as I do not know what is going on in the Congress of the People now, but perhaps those left behind at the COP's after party are coming to realize that political support cannot be manipulated, that much of the 'flow' that created that party is now ebbing and that the changing tides (to belabor the metaphor) are heralding the people's desire for something new. Make no mistake, it is easy to form a political party. All one needs are a name and a symbol and for a small fee down at the Elections & Boundaries Commission Office, one can be set up in business so to speak. But support is a different matter. More than parties, politics requires people. It is is why entire organizations have been set up to create the impression of support at election time to hopefully fool fence sitters and invite them to join the crowd. But that can only go so far. As someone said to me only yesterday, having the machinery to effectively and efficiently disseminate information is one thing, to have content worthy of disseminating is something else, and therein lies the rub. To most of the former members of the Congress of the People, there is nothing that its leader has to say that they want or need to hear. That for all his pontificating his actions make lies of his own much touted positions on intangibles such as integrity and principle, and having appeared to have sold out the party one fateful Monday evening in exchange for his own political preservation, the people on whom the Congress of the People are built are no longer interested.

That is the dynamics of politics, it is what makes democracy still the best vehicle available for harnessing the will of the people, that disenchantment on one hand can be reflected by enthusiasm on the other. The public appears to have no more interest in the Congress of the People and 'bussed in' crowds and staged events will not change that. They have moved on, and if the leadership of the COP had any remaining dignity and self respect they would accept that and move on as well.

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