Posts Tagged ‘election’

2016 will go down in the annals of history as one of the most interesting and eventful years in world history. Apart from Brexit, in terms of world politics no event has been more popcorn inspiring than the quest for the Presidency of the United States of America. A lot can be said and my mind is all over the place on this. Below is a collection of some of my main thoughts on this election cycle thus far. They are not in any particular order and in fact might even be incoherent. Consider them my random morning ramblings today as the constant social media debates about the pros and cons of this election have sufficiently provoked/annoyed me that I needed to exhale in a literary way.

TRUMP  TRUMP TRUMP – words fail me beyond saying real life has become stranger than fiction. It is the understatement of all time to say I truly am mind boggled that he has reached this point. I will also waste little time making the anti-trump argument as his very existence and state of being makes the argument. The epitome of the greater of two evils (or is he?).

MAYBE TRUMP ISN’T SO SURPRISING – the more I watch this election and listen to commentary on parallels in the world, trump isn’t so surprising. Well the Donald himself yes, but the idea that a total outsider from the political status quo could rise to prominence with seemingly silly, unworkable views is not new and despots of both the left and right variety have risen to prominence on the back of a political and economic system that is almost fully set on satisfying the desire of the absolutely rich and absolutely powerful to the detriment of the masses. What America may need to fear is that next election cycle a more skillful politician that is more disciplined, and dare I say more sensible, than the Donald is able to better ride this wave of discontent. Or maybe they shouldn’t fear, they could get an even better version of Bernie Sanders.

TRUMP ISN’T SURPRISING PART 2 – also why the rise of Trump isn’t surprising is that it has been trending this way for years with the Tea Party pulling the entire US political space to the Right. And this “Rightness” is rooted in white racist nationalism that is still very much rooted in America despite those who would have us believe that 8 years of a black president has magically cured the world of all racism.

DANGER OF PERSONALITY POLITICS – The level of discourse in this election campaign for the supposed greatest nation in the world is saddening at worst and laughable at best. Who grabbing what, whose hidden emails have been found on the computer of a political perv, the great Hollywood script writers couldn’t make this up. The discussions have been largely devoid of any substance, rather we are being sold two personal brands, powerful billionaire vs powerful woman – bigoted man vs flawed but qualified woman. Issues and policy have been sacrificed at the altar of who we like more and that may be a dangerous way to select our leaders anywhere in the world. But for a set of people who like to look at the rest of us and throw out phrases like “Third World Banana Republics” on a regular, this election cycle should be downright embarrassing.

“FALSE EQUIVALENCE” IS SICKENING – if you watch CNN in particular and listen to the so called “balance” it has by having two to three Trump apologists on every panel and listen to them ignore reality and logic and make the worst analogies and comparisons ever you would know exactly what I am talking about.

HILLARY HYPOCRISY – for me this is the notion of somehow because of several things, the most used card is gender, that Hillary Clinton is getting a raw deal (in the largely left leaning media no less) and no matter what she does she is treated as “guiltier” that trump. Rubbish, if this is so why is she being predicted in most corners to win by a landslide? We get a steady diet of “the emails are nothing so why is this hurting her…because she is a woman.” I find that disingenuous, it is hurting her because of a confluence of history and herself and her husband never ever being too far from controversy and shadiness. Think Clinton Foundation, think conflict of interest. These are not nothing issues and even if they can be explained or nuanced, being asked about them is fair game and not some media attack because she is specially disliked for being a she in my book. It is dangerous and a disservice to those who do suffer gender based discrimination to use this particular point to make her the poster child. A lot of other issues with her better fit that bill but not legitimate questions about (perceived) shadiness and impropriety.

Also the election has been tilted into the gutter not only by the moronic Trump, but by the Hillary campaign wanting it to stay there as their surest way to victory. If character assassination (or assisted suicide) is your number one tactic, how can you cry if a couple shots are volleyed your way and if you bring us in the gutter and occasionally the sewage spills on you, is it really fair to complain and be the victim?

THE NEED FOR PEOPLE TO TAKE THIRD PARTIES SERIOUSLY – this cycle rankles one of my many political pet peeves. We as people all over the world cry and complain over the status quo especially in political systems that have come to be dominated, if not defined, by two opposing political parties. Yet no matter how disillusioned we become with these two parties we are caught in the trap of “vote vote vote” and its evil cousin “you have to vote for one of the main parties because third parties can’t win.” Well what is the chicken and what is the egg? I put it to you that third parties have the potential to breathe new life into US politics and politics worldwide by changing the narrative, even if they don’t win. And either way they will never be able to win until people start taking them seriously. Regarding changing the narrative, the US right now gives a perfect example. Both the major political parties have by and large coalesced around the centre-right portion of politics. Neoliberalism and Neorealism are essentially one and the same and in an oversimplified way all they focus on is free trade and war. Can any real Progressive say that the Democratic Party is a party now acting upon Progressive views beyond tokenism with race, gender and sexual orientation? The party is largely Republican and the Republicans have shifted even further right. A different set of people with different perspectives that are backed by enough people would force traditional parties to actually focus on the things that matter to the masses. A lot more can be said but I feel if I were American I would be voting for the Green Party.

2016, Brexit has just taken an interesting turn this week and we are 4 days away from the Grabber vs Email election– Oh what a time to be alive.

PS – the videos below explore the issues of “false equvalence” and “third parties” respectively.

 

The song that is mentioned in the title of this blog post has been playing in my mind over and over as one of the many pieces of Jamaican creative art that has aptly served as social commentary basically covering my lifetime. In Jamaica POLITICS is a bad bad bad word, probably the worst word ever. In fact it has spawned many offshoots that highlight just how we as a people in large measure feel about the political process so we have “Follytics” which is my personal favourite of “politricks” which is perhaps the most popular.

For all persons who know me and know me well they know that ever since about the 9th grade I have stoutly held the position that until I see great changes in the way politics is practiced  I would never ever ever dip my finger in any ink. To this day I still feel very strongly about defending person’s right not to vote as being equal to a persons right to vote. I think this notion that “you must vote” whether you philosophically agree with the candidates put before you is one of the most popular yet flawed arguments that exists in Jamaica.

As I saw one comment on twitter yesterday “Voting for me is almost spiritual based on the sacrifice that went into me getting that right, I almost feel as though my soul will be damned if I just vote without conscience.” (slight paraphrase). That is deep almost deep beyond words. I think it is folly to say to someone your vote is valuable but give it to someone “just because” it’s the right thing to do. Persons who seek to bully and guilt trip persons into voting really need to spend the time and try to understand the stance of principled non-voters before reaching for the millions of tired clichés. Let me not even get into today the myriad of constitutional reform issues that legitimately turn people off from voting. That can be a blogpost for itself.

However, speaking of principled non-voters, I have recently developed a strong urge to reach out to my fellow disillusioned Jamaicans. We must not let our disillusionment turn into total apathy and separation from the process. whilst it is true that political participation goes well beyond casting a ballot and therefore voting is not the be all and end all of participation, we must also acknowledge that NOT VOTING AND NOT HAVING A VOTE ARE TWO CONSIDERABLY DIFFERENT THINGS. If you are not enumerated you don’t have a vote so your displeasure is not registered in any way that can even theoretically force those who you are displeased with to react. The sad truth is that these persons we make reference to are largely driven by electoral stimuli. So what we need to do is give them some different stimulus. If everybody who is not pleased with the status quo twinned their public expressions of disapproval with the REAL potential to be a “swing” set of votes THEY WOULD HAVE TO AT LEAST PAY SOME MORE ATTENTION.

SO DON’T VOTE IF YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE THERE IS ANYTHING TO VOTE FOR. I fully agree with that stance and it is your right and NEVER LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY FOR NOT CASTING YOUR VOTE FOR A MISGUIDED PERCEPTION OF CIVIC PRIDE. But political participation is more than just voting. What are you doing to contribute to the change that you want to see? Have you ever written to your representative? When parliament asks the public for written submissions have you ever sent one in? Are you a part of a civil society group fighting for a cause? NOT VOTING IS ONE THING BUT NOT CONTRIBUTING IN ANY WAY TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF JAMAICA AND THE “…THE WELFARE OF THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE” IS PROBABLY EQUAL OR WORSE FOLLY THAN THE FOLLYTICS WE COMPLAIN ABOUT.