A hilarious thing happened to me the other day. Within the space of a half-day I was, with equal vehemence, called both a PUP and a UDP. Both of my accusers threw their insults at me with similar distaste. I was at first offended; then I shifted gears to amusement because the reason for the accusation was the same on both sides: I had dared to criticize the party they supported!
Now, you need to understand that I’m an average Belizean. Maybe a little more educated than most, but average in that I go out and earn my daily bread in a job that, while spiritually unrewarding, allows me to finance that which fulfills my life. Average citizen that I am, I share in my fellow citizens’ fury every time a politician does something that tarnishes his office. Our angst, you see, is colorblind. And our colorblindness reveals certain negative yet increasingly common traits or habits in politicians of both major parties when they are in office:*
Get a really baaad car. The ministerial ride is a total babe magnet, and your vehicle choice will be one of the most important decisions you make as Minister. Of course, these days, with all the nice cars out there you also ought to slap a red license plate on there so the babes know for sure who you are. Man, does that send them right into your arms!
Taste the power. Hey, you’re a minister now, you must know that means you can do anything you want. Por Dios…and you are Dios…who can stop you from doing it? Go ahead, use your name and rank everywhere, the people will be breathless as you wield your power to give your best friend land, or make sure that your constituent gets that job, appointment or contract, whether or not he deserves it. Incidentally, this is one way to win the working man’s heart, when you give his lazy, shiftless neighbor gifts untold just because said neighbor controls fourteen votes.
Profile, profile, profile. You, by virtue of your victory and subsequent ministerial appointment, have been rendered psychic. You therefore can tell, just by looking at any person in the street, whether they voted for or against you. As the Miss Cleo of politicians you will know with absolute certainty that someone voted against you by their family name, the clothes they wear, the food they eat, and because they didn’t fall on their knees to kiss your butt the moment you walked in the room. If you even think someone voted against you, they are The Enemy, remember this and rough ‘em up accordingly. Odds are your career will be just as successful as Miss Cleo’s if you follow your psychic instincts.
Power = wealth within 5 years. Being omnipotent, and psychic too, you are in a position to take advantage of opportunities, whether or not you deserve them. Be creative, and things being what they are, you will make sure to have a retirement package ready for the end of your five-year contract. Just in case. In short, plan for the day when your friends turn out to be enemies you couldn’t see because they ducked behind your butt and planted kisses there for camouflage.
Criticism is always politically motivated. This is where I came in. Try to discipline yourself to recite the mantra “that’s political.” Whenever someone disapproves of your action, be it media, organization or private citizen, say “that’s political” and the comment will magically be made ineffective. Take care with this one though, as the long term effect has more than once been to make ruling governments jobless.
The day that I was so viciously and bilaterally accused, I went home thinking I had done something wrong because I hadn’t convinced my acquaintances that I was on their side. Then I slapped myself silly for thinking that. Hell, I did good, because I established that I wasn’t a party-line toeing robot. I’m a free thinker and as such an endangered species. When we become extinct and the brainwashed members of the political cults take over completely, the country will be utterly lost.
Who is really The Enemy of Belize? Is it the guy selling out your country or the guy telling the truth about the sellout of your country? Answer that correctly and I’ll be the ‘P’ on your side.
*These traits have been widely observed in our leadership over the last few decades. They can appear in any order, and are not limited to those listed above. If you’ve seen others, please feel free to share with the author and readers by clicking ‘comment’ and making your addition.