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GET REAL: Where is the love, politicians?


ADRIAN GREEN

GET REAL: Where is the love, politicians?

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THERE WAS A WOMAN who was diagnosed with an extremely rare disease called hyperorgasmatitis. She was advised by her doctor that the next time she engaged in intercourse it could kill her. She and her husband decided that to avoid temptation, he would sleep upstairs and she downstairs. One night dey but-up pun de stairs. The woman said: “Honey, I can’t take it anymore. I was just coming to kill myself.”  The husband replied: “Good, cause I was just coming to kill yah.”  Thanks, Trevor Eastmond.

Our politicians seem to be on their way downstairs. We seem to be intent on meeting them halfway.

As popular performing artist Captain Sawyer says, it is usually, “Sumting fuh sumting.” In any relationship you give and you get. What you give and what you get is determined by morals and power: what is in your power to give and to demand, and what you think is right for you to give and demand.

Captain Sawyer describes a situation where the man’s power is in his wallet.  Because of our sexual and sexist mindsets, many men somehow assume the woman’s power is located below her waistline. They play a game of who can extract the most from the other’s power base while putting out as little as possible. Some people call this exploitation. Who is doing the exploiting depends on which of the two is more powerful; the wallet or the womb. Others call this business. They are both trying to maximise profit and minimise expenditure.

What happens when a relationship that we expect to be based on an emotional bond becomes a business transaction? What happens when politics is your business? What happens when you become a career politician? What will allow you to resist the temptation to come downstairs and exploit the life out of the people you are supposed to serve? Do any of our politicians have a deep emotional connection to the people and the idea of the nation? Do any of us?

Patrice Lumumba was an African political leader who showed a kind of deep, passionate, revolutionary love for his people. The kind that was necessary if you were going to lead your country out of the darkness of colonialism. His love for his nation made him a target of Western imperialism. He was assassinated and replaced with an African puppet leader who would be more willing to exploit African resources and people on behalf of Western economic interests. 

Many of those who led these Caribbean islands to independence seemed to fit this mould. When you hear recordings of Errol Barrow speak, you don’t only hear intelligence, and deep thought, you hear a firm, dignified love.

Economics doesn’t factor in love. It’s hard to quantify. It doesn’t translate automatically to dollars, so it does not make sense. Love of their people caused some of the most revered black leaders of our times, who gave the most to black empowerment, to die still paying rent.  But you will hear people today tell you that if you are not wealthy when you leave politics you are a fool. 

Have you ever been a fool for love or in love with a fool? Then you know that love doesn’t conquer all. And it is easier to proclaim than to practise. You still have to get real and get your business straight. But the direction in which the straight line flows depends on the type of love present.

If Captain Sawyer’s gentleman is of the truly loving kind, he may pay for his lady’s education, facilitate a business for her or make sure she has a home. This at the risk of his friends calling him a “booboo” man or his woman bolting once the mortgage done pay. 

If he is all about “da business” she might barely get fancy clothes, jewellry and feting money. Cyndi Lauper argued, “Girls just wanna have fun.” In desperate situations, a girl may party not because she wants to, but out of necessity. If Sawyer’s lady is like that, she may have to give up something for relatively little. There is a stereotype of men in power who exploit party girls or any girl in need. Google Dominic Strauss Kahn and Silivo Berlusconi.

A sugar daddy elected official will find out what the people want and need and give it to them so he can stay in power. When we feel we are in desperate need, we may easily give up our power for a handout. If we are a pure party populace, we may be satisfied with a little sport, entertainment and some kicks. 

Our politicians give us what we want; a good show. And once I get a lil sumting, he could get my vote.

Without that deep love and connection to your people, leadership becomes an economic formula. A leader with sugar daddy inclinations will prefer for his people to be hand-to-mouth and be addicted to bashment. Then he does not even have to get out of bed. Out of desperation or depravity, the people will come up stairs to kill themselves.

What incentive is there for a Caribbean politician to be the kind of politician he needs to be, to lead us out the darkness of recession and the economic free fall, when you can get away with doing Jack.

Listen to the words of another deep-loving politician whose pro-people policies clashed with the business plans of the powerful, Thomas Sankara: “You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen. We must dare to invent the future.”

Who is mad enough to stop the madness and do something different?

Adrian Green is a Communications specialist and a recovering ideological addict. Email: [email protected]

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