Sun | Apr 30, 2017

Let the puckery begin

Published:Tuesday | September 22, 2015 | 9:00 AMPatria-Kaye Aarons, Contributor

Can elections just come and go already? The political puckery has begun, and I'm so over it.

Puckery: It's a word I've coined to describe the silly actions of politicians in the weeks leading up to elections. In some media jurisdictions, they call election time the silly season. News headlines are filled with things politicians do that really shouldn't make the news.

I'm inclined to join the silly school of thought. Though I fully understand how necessary the democratic process is, and have come to accept that it will invariably come with some showboating by those hoping to form the next government, sometimes it's just all too much.

Round one of the puckery will come from the election date announcement ritual. That well-kept secret held close to the prime minister's (PM) chest often reminds me of the invisible power security guards hold. Who can forget "Call it, Andrew, call it!" - remnants of the doting crowds you read about in Julius Caesar or the Bible.

Dangling the election date is puckery just for the party faithful who hold election day as sacrosanct as The Judgement. Why can't we just set it and forget it when it comes to election day? Just pick a date, and every five years we go to the polls. The Electoral Office of Jamaica would be able to plan properly, and the PM would have one fewer thing to worry (and brag) about.

Next, they'll bring the puckery to me - the undecided. One friend revealed that for the first time in four years, last week they got a newsletter from their member of parliament. I've seen high-gloss, multi-page manifestos with recycled promises that will never be fulfilled. But I get it: Kissing up to the voting public is all part of the campaign puckery. Make them believe. The better orator may win.

 

An imperative question

The political machinery is being cranked up, and "What have you done for me lately?" is the question every politician and political hopeful is scurrying to answer. And they should answer it.

It irks me when I hear people talk about "my family is PNP" or "mi a born JLP". Tell me how that has worked out for you. The same party - in many cases, the same person - has been in control of your community for decades. How have they made it better?

As you go to the polls, I ask that you consider what your representatives have done to make the lives of their constituents better. And not marginally better. How many have made meaningful changes that can resonate with generations to come?

If you can't run your constituency, you can't run my country, especially if you've had the seat for multiple terms.

In the midst of the silly puckery, get enumerated, folks. You have until September 30 to ensure you get on the voters' list. I'm immune to puckery, and I refuse to have curry goat-gobbling T-shirt lovers pick my government for me.

A word to the wise: With all the consultants on the books for both political parties, I would think it crucial that both seek out the services of a local 'Olivia Pope', especially now. Invariably, in the run-up to general elections, politicians say and do unbecoming things. And most aren't nimble enough to spin the story in their favour. Do yourselves a favour. Hire a professional.

Rant over.

- Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com, or tweet @findpatria.