Political shenanigans

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Many politicians use shady practices to attract voters. They raise millions of dollars to advertise against their opponents, but much is from oligarchs who will benefit from their financial support when they win. Are such prevarications par for the course? What kind of message does it send the public when their misinformation and lies are exposed?

The voters need clarification when each side gives its slant to the barrage of propaganda they hear and see from opposing factions. Whom can they believe?

Across the world, from Trinidad and Tobago to the UK, the US, Russia and beyond, the world is taking its cue from the leaders who blast their message from every media outlet, from The New York Times, the UK Guardian, Al Jazeera, Yahoo, Fox News, et al, and the T&T mass media. But is anyone listening?

Voting is down, and so is newspaper readership; even though people are watching TV news, the sound and video bites from television news cannot give the complete picture of stories that matter.

So, is it any wonder that voters end up either not voting or getting their information from titbits of data on Facebook’s and Twitter’s Wild West scenarioswhere anyone can say whatever comes to mind, no matter how insane it is? That is why millions of people around the globe refused to take the potentially lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine.

Someone makes a false statement online, and a paranoid delusional, hypochondriac doctor sows some doubts in their minds, and it spreads in seconds like wildfire in our hyper-connected world.

On the political spectrum, socalled conservative values appear to have struck a chord with the far right. In the US are Trump and his Republican Party, the Tories in the UK, and the PNM in T&T.

They all have one thing in common-they want to preserve the status quo and are against change. To that end, they will produce ‘irrefutable evidence’ against their opponents that will not stand up to unbiased scrutiny by independent bodies.

Even when the charges eventually prove false, the damage has already been done. Trump is the master of that, and so is Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, and T&T’s PM, Dr Keith Rowley. These leaders have one thing in common; they fear new voters coming into the voting bloc. Young minds who have not been inculcated into the party can see things more clearly than older voters who have followed a voting pattern that their parents and grandparents did.

So instead of encouraging voter registration, they place roadblocks to make the process more complicated than it needs to be. For example, they want a new digital birth certificate and a National Identification Card before they are allowed to vote, so they send the potential applicant to one location to get the birth certificate and another to get the ID, when it would be easier to have everything available in a single one-stop shop.

We hear reports of candidates who have been jailed and under investigation by the authorities still winning elected office. In Brazil, Lula da Silva, who was jailed for corruption, is now Brazil’s new president. Trump lost the election in the US, but refused to concede to President Biden. In Russia, President Putin, an ex-KGB officer, has been prime minister and later president for the last 22 years.

In T&T, we have a prime minister who fought against corruption and crime, and his party, in power for almost eight years, is now accused of the same things he said he would fix. What do these leaders have in common? They use party loyalty and handouts to keep their base happy.

The only remedy to repair a badly damaged country like Russia, America, Britain and T&T is to replace the entrenched party that has used every underhand trick it knows to stay in office. By voting the Republicans, the Tories, Vladimir Putin and Rowley out, you could prove that democracy is the only viable answer to Communism.

Rex Chookolingo