Problem with blind spots

 

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Category: Trinidad Politics 14 Oct 07
 

Don’t even try and talk about anything but politics in Trinidad and Tobago now. You overhear it in car parks, streets, malls, porches and golf courses.

 

Mostly, people are puzzled. They can’t see why leaders are blind.

 

“But why can’t Mr Panday see it’s time to allow the Opposition leader to do just that—lead, and that it’s better to leave politics with the people wanting more, not less of you?”

 

“Why can’t Mr Manning see that he is creating a lot of enemies with his high-handed manner. He needs to get rid of his tight circle of sycophants to see clearly, or somebody will stab him in the back when he’s least expecting it.”

 

“Why can’t Mr Dookeran see that despite his unblemished record in public life, and despite his good intentions, successful politics is about being expedient and he cant go it alone.”

 

The interesting thing about blind spots is you never know you have them. I was telling this to my parents, recently, when they rescued me from an addiction to an over-the-counter drug—a harmless enough thing.

 

It helped me to sleep once, years back, and without thinking about it, I religiously popped it into my mouth along with my multi-vitamins. For years.

 

The terrible effects of this were probably munching its way to my organs to deal me an unpleasant surprise one day.

 

I recently started feeling awful, which puzzled me. Everyone else knew why. It was the over-the-counter drug. I didn’t.

 

Apparently, everyone was warning me about them for years.

 

I wasn’t listening. “How could I be so blind to the destruction I was doing myself?” I asked my father on the day I quit the tablet.

 

Right now things aren’t so bad. Education is free all the way up to the tertiary level. We’ve got close to full employment. Salaries are going up, in some cases by 100 per cent.

 

Want to party

Who cares what are we going to do when the oil runs out? Stop studying mid-degree, gape at semi-completed buildings and projects worth billions, discover an increasingly unskilled labour market, a devalued dollar in an overheated economy that is hollow and will crack without energy.

 

Maybe.

Like my sweet tranquilised sleep, we feel little pain now. We have whipped ourselves into an excited frenzy. I was amazed to hear people who had previously announced they were voting COP suddenly cite the entertainment and huge crowds at the UNC rally as reasons to vote UNC.

 

We literally want to party, to follow the biggest band.

 

A Trini-Canadian reader made this observation:

“Amazing the vitriol that is coming out from the UNC supporters on Web sites. You can almost smell the fear and hatred emanating through their posts.

“Interestingly, the PNM sites are more focused on the internal shake-ups engineered by Manning and the friction that it is causing.

“You have one ruling party that is so navel-gazing it is ignoring its challengers, one opposition party that is attacking, then wooing, then threatening a new up-and-coming party while ignoring the government party altogether, and a new party that is trying to get its message out while being assailed by both sides. ”

 

People are feeling one another out, reporting one another opinion. Trying to put together the puzzle that will only come together on the night of November 5.

 

That will be our clearest mirror yet of who we are and what we want for ourselves, which leaders’ blind spot we remove with our vote and what we decide to keep.

 

Pray that the blind will not be leading the blind.  

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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur