The Scarlet Pimpernel Blog
Thursday, 15 November 2012 02:31
By The Scarlet Pimpernel
“The existence of only two major parties, as in most English-speaking countries, presupposes general public agreement on constitutional questions and on the aims of government” - The Columbia Encyclopedia.
The seminal idea to be gleaned from the preceding observation on competitive two-party political systems is that if rival political parties keep each other in check, constitutional authority will be preserved, a high level political rectitude will be maintained and “we the people” will receive the natural benefits of adept governance.
Notwithstanding the stated theoretical efficacies of the two-party political system, what the electorate in Antigua & Barbuda have experienced for a half of a century, as a result of the performance of the two deeply entrenched political parties, has created widespread distrust, disdain and dissatisfaction with respect to both political parties.
Today, most Antiguans and Barbudans are justifiably embittered with the UPP government’s two-term failure to effectuate transition from aggressive opposition party, whose stated raison d'être was simply to oppose, into an effective government with the capacity, capability and competence to develop the country and improve the lives of the populace.
Expediency dissuades candid discourse into the root causes of the UPP’s abysmal failure at governance, but you can bet your life that your neighbor’s cock will grow teeth before UPP leaders take individual or collective responsibility for the rampant suffering that their fumbling and dithering have caused throughout our beloved nation.
If every disappointment is truly a blessing in disguise, the nation may count itself blessed for having gained the experiential knowledge that there is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip of even the most seemingly well-intentioned politicians. Indeed, eloquent political oratories are no substitute for respectful, transformative leadership, and it remains lamentably unfortunate how a lack of political sophistication causes the notably gullible electorate of Antigua & Barbuda, with its short memory, to repeatedly succumb to the political wiles of the ALP and the UPP.
Having endured several decades of the situational ethics of politicians ever willing to tell you what they think you want to hear, disappointment has also blessed Antiguans with the valuable lesson that both red and blue political manifestos, filled with campaign promises, are not worth the paper on which they are printed. It is no accident that these written platforms of intentional misrepresentations never bother to explain HOW either party intends to pay for its political promises, if elected.
One of the more blatant whoppers that you may recall is the ALP’s promise to eliminate income tax, knowing fully well it has no such intention. It is stating the obvious to say that the verbal content of these documents are ethically equivalent to “rum shop talk”, completely devoid of integrity. Albeit, I have reason to feel optimistic that the voting public is finally appreciating the significance of, “Fool me once, shame on you fool me twice, shame on me.”
My sincere feeling is that a new day is on the horizon where our young people in particular will stand on principle, and resolutely rebuke any politician who presents them with the customary outlines of hopes and dreams and bogus bullet-point economic plans.
The quintessential qualifications to hold the highest offices in our nation should no longer be predicated on proficiency at maligning political opponents, crystal ball economics and panacea salesmanship, but on the presentation and explanation of substantive plans that cogently expound long awaited economic development strategies with insightful recovery approaches and achievable sustainability goals, that are rooted in practical reality.
It is with a sense of awe that I proudly bear witness to the wave of courage that is coming ashore, bringing with it the audacity of hope and the political pluck the People need to give the gaggle of mediocre ALP and UPP politicians pink slips of no confidence.
Moreover, the spiritually mindful among us can attest to the spirit of God moving in the hearts of the People of Antigua & Barbuda like never before, as a critical mass of God-fearing individuals begins to realize that we cannot continue “to serve God and mammon”.
With the day of reckoning drawing nigh, ask yourselves, who among the current crop of opportunists seeking our endorsement to political office have demonstrated leadership capable of harnessing our best and the brightest minds (human capital) into a motivated team of tacticians working together with patriotic fervor towards the “uni-partisan” objective of restoring our nation to its former glory, global economic crisis notwithstanding?
The veritable answer to this question speaks clearly to the reason why the next election must be miles above business as usual.A Political Quandary
As the nation eagerly looks toward Election Day 2014 for the opportunity to rid itself of the yoke of the UPP‘s narcissistic leadership, the vast majority of the vox populi is neither willing nor disposed to drinking old red wine from new wineskins. The ALP supporters that abandoned the party in 2004 for promises of milk and honey in the sunshine and hung on to the UPP in 2009 solely out of pathological shame have not been properly motivated to return to Birdland.
To make bad matters worse, the ineffective opposition of the ALP and the public spectacle of escalating animosities at the helm of the party continue to alienate voters and give credibility to the fears of an ALP government that the UPP incessantly seeks to legitimize.
Meanwhile a decade of hapless, jobless, hopeless graduates and dropouts, who feel abandoned by the UPP to the abyss of wretched street corner life, yearn for meaningful change that cannot be found on ZDK.
Likewise, for the disillusioned PLM and ACLM diehards and the UPP deserters, the guilt, shame and disgust that would attend their first journey to the red zone could not be countenanced without radical reconditioning behavior therapy.
Even if you do not believe in the alchemy of polls, it is not difficult to perceive that neither of the political parties seems capable of securing a clear mandate from a majority of the electorate. Accordingly, the apparent need for a third party solution is a political reality that screams silently in the hearts and minds of all true Antiguan and Barbudan patriots.
Rest assured that with full knowledge of the crisis of leadership and rambling incompetence that exists within its ranks, the UPP will seek another term in office by relying heavily on its tested and proven election strategy of tirelessly reminding voters of the twenty-eight (28) dark years of ALP corruption, for which to this day, it has failed to secure a single conviction.
On the other side of the tracks, because there is no real signal of any viable third party in the grapevines, the ALP basks in the confidence that the suffering being experienced throughout the island and the frustration that the People of Antigua & Barbuda feel with the UPP’s colossal portfolio of letdowns, provides more than sufficient ammunition in the ALP arsenal to secure an easy victory at the 2014 polls. It truth be told, both sides may have ignored a missing variable in the political equation!
The embattled, betrothed heir-apparent to the ALP dynasty is of the stated view that the entrance of a third party into the political arena at this juncture is practically a non-starter. I wish to take cursory issue with the premise of that view solely to say that it is a miscalculation to presuppose that a third party needs to win the next election to become the head of next government of Antigua & Barbuda.
Careful investigation into the political climate of the nation will reveal a staggering number of voters who would prefer to throw their support behind new faces with bright new ideas. Hence, it is completely conceivable that a third party could actually win enough seats to prevent both the UPP and the ALP from capturing nine (9) seats.
It is crucial to understood that the dynamics of a three (3) party contest are as such that while both the ALP and the UPP can be left to demolish each other in their race to secure nine (9) seats, the strategic goal of a new third party can be simply to pick up at least three (3) seats in an attempt to prevent either of them from reaching nine (9) seats. A third party that is capable of securing only three (3) seats at the next general elections will most certainly be in a position to negotiate the leadership of a new coalition government, in the event of the likely situation where the ALP and the UPP each wins seven (7) seats.
I submit that there are many honest, decent, inspired Antiguan and Barbudan men and women at home and abroad that would trade their red or blue allegiances for the opportunity to lead, follow and/or participate in the creation and empowerment of a vibrant, well-organized third party, built on embracing, respecting and practicing the political values that the ALP and the UPP have abandoned, as well as adopting appropriate “green” principles into its platform.
Caribarena.com could be an invaluable tool in the organization efforts required for the non-violent, intellectual coup d’état required to create an organization capable of seizing the political mantle from the hands of those who have repeatedly abused the power and authority vested in them, and proven themselves unworthy of our mandate.
The first step can be a simple multi-question, online poll, strategically crafted to gauge the willingness of the electorate to give young, energetic intelligent leadership a chance. After the voice of the People emanating from the polls gives confidence to the propriety and rightness of the cause, many dormant leaders will have the opportunity to heed the nation-building call to service, realizing that the duty to create an alternative to the bipartite tyranny is true allegiance to God. Once the battle cry is sounded the cream will rise to the top and the best talent will invariably earn their stripes.
Looking at the choices we are faced with, I truly believe that the existing state of affairs behooves men and women of all persuasions to rise up and band together to create a third party alternative that breaks the attitude of entitlement that presently pervades the political landscape. You will agree that the idea is one whose time has come.The Sacred Duties of Citizenship
In circumstances such as these, the civic imperative to exercise one’s political franchise (the right to vote) is not easily reconciled with the political conundrum which belies the instant political reality that “Lungoo na betta dan Sungoo” or that “six and half-a-dozen are the same.” If a worthwhile third party does not emerge, the majority of voters will be left with the apology that their only choice was to vote for “the lesser of two evils.” In that connection, I wish to caution the electorate at this early stage with the sagacious words of Leonard E Read, that: “Implicit in this confession are a moral tragedy and a political fallacy which, in combination, must eventually lead to economic disaster.”
Although the obligation to vote in elections, regardless of the dominant issues or suitability of the candidates, has long been equated with responsible citizenship, it is patently wrong to believe that responsible citizenship requires one to vote for a candidate who has discarded his/her moral compass or is demonstrably inept.
Equally, a Christian nation must recognize the moral tragedy involved in a decision to endorse wrongdoing or capitulate to evil. Rather than abandon the guiding principles of our faith, we must break with tradition and insist on making the integrity of the candidate the principal qualification for election to public office.
It follows that whenever we are presented with only inappropriate candidates we must forever be prepared to take the moral high ground and summon the courage to turn our backs on the ballot as a form of non-violent protest. Deliberate inaction of this nature would loudly declare our rejection of the status quo, and firmly signal our commitment to the moral values of our faith.
Beloved, your vote is neither a commodity to be traded for political favors or sold to the highest bidder; nor is it a gift held in blind trust for the party you support. Responsible citizenship demands rejection of all evils at all times, as well as the moral fortitude to cast your ballot on the basis patriotism that does not require one to sacrifice the dictates of conscience in favor of party affiliation.