Election bell ring, Ms. Democracy

Dem a di don, to di biz we av di key
put di don to di key and turn him inna donkey
—Ting a Ling, Shabba Ranks

The election bell ring. It wake up Democracy from a deep drunken sleep. She sit up and watch the clock and steups. A long watery one. The kind of special steups you save for when you in government office for an hour trying to do something that should take five minutes.
Democracy put on the radio to see who else dead in the night. She listen to the bacchanal. She switch and listen to the fearmongers.
She smile and shake her head at the callers. Near hysterics with the latest piece of stupidness that just get revealed.
She wonder if nothing else going on in this forceripe little island except for badjohns with guns and badjohns with seats in Parliament.
They coming for her just now. They coming to dress her up pretty and loud for a few weeks and parade her about like a trophy wife.
Democracy wish she could say half the things that in her head and heart to say. That could turn things around and make a difference to the lives of those who need it the most.
The ones who depending on the government or the opposition to actually represent them and engage them in creating a brighter future.
Democracy take a sip of her coffee watching the clouds gather on the hills. This is a sweet time of the day when the light is perfect.
The hills used to be so green. But is development, nah. Is development and the need for housing that have less trees on the hills and rivers on mud running down her street.
It had a time when she used to try and make a difference. She used to talk.
They say she is a trouble aker. They say she trying to make confusion. They say she trying to stop people from eating a food.
Democracy, hush yuh firetrucking mouth so I could make a lil kickback.
They don’t know who is me or what? Like they forget the meaning of my name. Like they forget that is because of me they reach anywhere in the first place.
She give up on fighting them now. She give up because the licks starting to take a toll. The emotional abuse starting to make her forget the meaning of her own name.
Democracy is good at hiding the bruises now. She learn how to do that long time. She eat so much licks in her time that she know how to turn her face so that when the lash pass it wouldn’t leave too big a mark. Not too bad.
Democracy go on Facebook. She watch her newsfeed and roll her eyes at the political blogs. She not really sure why she following them in the first place.
A set of idlers who like to hide behind they computer and pontificate about what wrong with Trinidad.
But if she were to call them and ask them to come and help her out, they woulda start to stutter and well, ahm in her ears and tell her how it eh really have nothing she could do.
See? We’re so free here. We give you a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea and you should be grateful for that.
She going to spend the next few weeks wining for rum and roti.
Democracy watch herself long and hard in the mirror. She not looking too bad. She could still smile and convince people that she is beautiful. She could still make a show that she matters and is of value.
The money they paying her to show up, well she could make a good living on that. She could go away every now and again. She could buy nice things and go on the Avenue and lime.
Democracy figure is compensation enough for her pains.
They coming for her just now. They coming to show her off in the papers. On the hustings. She getting some good gigs for the next few weeks.
Is like Carnival time when they does play local music on the radio.
After elections she going to disappear just like soca. Until next time.
The rain falling again.
The sky weeping tears on her behalf. Endless tears. The sky have more water than Wasa, that’s for sure. She can’t cry now. She smile at her face in the mirror. She skin her teeth and practise kissing babies. She swallow hard to get rid of the lump in her throat.
Now that the election bell ring. How it go look if Democracy looking bad?

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And the Fete goes on

Don’t they know
A blind man could see
That this is blatant hypocrisy
The real traitors an dem are high in society
Yet the Government protecting all ah dem
And penalising you and me
Good Citizen, Mighty Sparrow

Look what representation come to, eh. Look what change you can believe in looks like. The pigs are walking upright and throwing filth at us. Look what we voted for and rejoiced at. Look at what we breathed loud sighs of relief for, when we were rid of the megalomaniac Papa Patos.

We really reach where we have to go. Again. Because we’ve been here before. At this same point. So don’t act too surprised. This is the cycle we know best. But the spaces in between the points of fedupcy of the people. Those spaces are growing larger. Those moments are fewer and further between. And not because our governments are getting better. But because we are become less and less convinced of our power.

Watch them, nah. Sending police to maco unarmed protesters eating portugals and chatting quietly among themselves. The officers look like they’re not too sure why they’re there. Protecting, like the rest of us, the little work that they have. Unsure of the consequences if they were to say no to their superiors.

Look what piety come to. Saying hurry up and dead one day and piously praying the next. Does their god only hear prayers? Is his hearing aid off the rest of the time? The problem is that we’re so busy watching what the other person is doing we dare not do for ourselves. The problem is that it’s far easier to be on the sidelines making snarky comments than to actually do the work to be the change that is so necessary.

We’re always looking for a messiah. We’re always looking for somebody to tell us that it’s okay to be vocal. A person who gives us something to believe in that is outside of ourselves, so if it fails we’re not too personally invested. We can’t help that Father-of-the-Nation syndrome. The complicated relationships between the leader and the led.

The problem is not Jack Warner. The problem is not how many of us gather outside the Prime Minister’s office. The problem is not the People’s Partnership. They are doing the best they can. It’s a pity that this is all they can muster and that it is mediocre at best and at worst a total heartbreaking disaster.

The problem is that we are sitting back and allowing these people to insult our intelligence and embarrass our country internationally. We want someone else to die for us. We are neither willing to die nor to kill for what we believe in. It’s not about one person.

It’s not about one Government. They do their job really well. Their job, as inherited from colonial authorities, is to seek the economic interests of others and position themselves in a way that they can get a little scraping of the left-over cream.

So while we’re looking for someone else to die for us, some other martyr for us to remember with our tears, we are not thinking about shutting the country down. While we are trying to get the Government to understand that they can’t make a business out of art without first consulting the artists, walls are bare of words that really let them know how we feel. And the fete goes on.

The fete goes on despite the questions. If we have more highway, will we have less traffic? If we have more police, will we have less crime? If we have more industry, will we have more wealth? If we have more buildings, will we have more employment? If we have a TTCIC, will we have better art?

It shouldn’t be up to one person to sacrifice his life for all of us. It shouldn’t be up to a bunch of self-serving pencil-pushers to decide what version of development we should have. It shouldn’t be up to a state-appointed board to say how our arts industry gets to its full potential.

In the past two years, many lines have been drawn in the sand. And this Government has been teetering on the brink of collapse for so long we’re not sure when it was ever stable and looked like it had a clue. In the past two years, this Government has done nothing if not surpass our wildest expectations of just how much of a pappyshow the democratic process can be. And how easy it is to disguise yourself in a well-executed campaign.

In the past two years this Government has done nothing if not totally convince us that this idea of governance that we have is not just flawed but totally unsuited to forward movement. I wonder if we’ll let them get to the end of their five years before we start the cycle all over again.