Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Was A Supporter, But I’m No Fanatic

Why I'm No Longer A Party Member

Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon... must inevitably come to pass! -Paul J. Meyer

As many of you who read this blog know I have recently (3 years) returned to Trinidad to live and have become a sort of social activist. My reasons are simple; Trinidad is my home.

My emotions run high about many injustices in the world. Pretty much all of them I can do nothing about. I was never in a position to make any significant contribution in the communities in Boston, MA or Ft. Lauderdale FL. It was not long after my arrival here that I decided that I would not quietly blend into my community.

I think what initially motivated me was a feeling of wanting to give back to the community. As a result, I campaigned to revitalize my community Village Council so that my neighbors would have representation. The government had initiated many social programmes but without an organized active body in the community only the basic services were provided.

The Village Council operates under a constitution and is governed by national and regional organizations. With a long history of providing social services to the immediate community it is strictly non-political. And because of this organization, I ended up in the politics of the country.

Here again the logic was simple. Most of the community supported the People National Movement (PNM), that being a tradition with no apparent logic. From what I had known of the politics of this particular party was that there was a lot of “stupidness” going on internally.

That mattered little at the time because, in my opinion; with or without me the “stupidness” would continue. So my logic was that if this is the party that would most likely win the election, this is the party I would back. In hindsight I think that getting involved in politics should come not from who would win but some other more enduring philosophy. Anyway, here is what happened.

I was elected to the position of Vice President of Party Group 18. As the vice president there were the obligatory weekly meetings to discuss party politics and campaigning to recruit more members. It was at these meetings that I was singled out as not being timid in voicing my opinions about issues.

Maybe it’s because I articulated what I felt with out reservations for party politics. What amazed me most was how the people in the meeting led by the Chairwoman of the Constituency ignored the currents issues in the party. In fact, they fleetingly rationalized what I considered very significant issues related to ethics and morality as practiced by party leaders. Issues like the Finance Minister which I wrote about in one post here.

The constituency Party Group meetings never discussed relevant issues like the high crime rate in the country, the fact that the Prime Minister wanted to purchase a private jet, the close to half a billion dollar mansion he built or the proposed construction of, not one but three, smelter plants in the country. To them these were non-issues. I begged to differ.

My question has always been; how could sane, intelligent people not rebel or even discuss issues that apparently affected their lives? The answer was not readily available but with a little research I now have an answer to the riddle. You could probably guess the reason too; it’s really that obvious. But I digress.

Now here is my dilemma. I am now receiving invitations to what I would call party sponsored events some of which make me appear as if I agree with the party politics. I have received personal invitations to conventions, sporting events and consultations. Some I have attended and some I have ignored because none really every address any of what to me are very relevant party issues.

If you have been following me here you may remember the post on the Summit of the Americas where I related the story when the President of Party Group 18 was denied an invitation because only my name was listed as an invited guest. My protests were ignored and because I did not reach the point I’m today, I accepted it. That too was a revelation.

Well I called it a dilemma but the dilemma lasted for about a day. Today, I’m officially and symbolically burning my party card, symbolic because the promised party card was never delivered. I’m exercising my right as a citizen not to participate.

I’m willing to accept the backlash that I will no longer be invited to functions and meetings that have provided a network of party associates. I was a supporter but I am no fanatic and will continue to be a social activist in the true sense of the word. I refuse to compromise my moral and ethical values for what I could potentially gain from being a member

Thank you for reading my rant.

Be well.

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