A national disgrace, a comedic triumph

The Royal Gazette
Opinion (26 July, 2007)

One of the best things about politics is the unintended humour of it all; the blatant hypocrisy, the self-important personalities, the thin-skinned bullies, the opportunists and the revisionist history for example.

Friday’s PLP “Main Event” at West Pembroke school field had them all, let’s just hope that the school children weren’t around to have their impressionable heads filled with some of the most hateful stuff you can hope they never have to hear.

The PLP’s 2007 campaign has started where the 2003 one left off: racially divisive and destructive for the future. And you wondered why the UBP’s Parliamentary Code of Conduct was rejected out of hand by the PLP?

If the events of Thursday night hadn’t been so offensive they’d have actually been comedic. Well, even then it was comedic, unintentionally for sure, but a virtual comedy routine nonetheless.

What else can you call trotting out Jamahl Simmons to talk about a leopard not changing its spots, when he’s done it five times now (PLP, NLP, UBP, IND and PLP again – not the ABC though…yet) in a decade, then comparing the UBP’s Shawn Crockwell to a pedophile before hilariously invoking a biblical reference about himself as the Prodigal Son. How very Christian that speech was.

What else can you call an event that in the year 2007 saw a new PLP candidate refer to someone in the UBP as a “confused negro”; welcome to the 1960s. Who said dinosaurs were extinct.

What else can you call an event which saw the PLP Leader incite his devotees to draw their swords to ‘slay the lying, vile, underhanded, vengeful UBP dragon!” (Does that qualify as a bladed weapons offence?) Someone’s been counting down the days to the new release of the final installment of Harry Potter it seems.

Evidently Dr. Brown got a little caught up in the moment and forgot that he was at a political rally not a Harry Potter convention. Come to think of it, maybe Dr. Brown was waiting in the book release line outside a New York bookstore with the 10 year old dress-up wizards, before “flying in for The Main Event”.

Speaking of wizards, the whole rally had a whole “Wizard of Oz” feel to it actually.

Dragon’s and negroes and paedophiles. Oh my!

I was looking for the munchkins and the Lollipop Guild, but evidently they weren’t among the 500 – or was it 1,000, or was it 5,000 attendees (as new PLP candidate Walton Brown’s ‘news’ site was reporting for half of Friday) – in attendance. Maybe the difference was attributable to whether you counted the Presidential entourage or not?

It’s not hard to pick out a Cowardly Lion, a Tin Man and a Scarecrow among other characters on the stage, but I’ll leave that up to you. Whichever way you slice it – and there’s a lot of material here but I only have a word limit – “The Main Event” was both a national disgrace and a comedic triumph.

Just follow the yellow-lined road to the Emerald Field and behold the Wizard – don’t pull back the curtain though, you’ll find the act is all a big manipulative fraud.

No doubt after all this racial incitement, Dr, Brown probably spent the weekend with the white oligarchy he just demonized at those exclusive institutions called The Mid Ocean Club or The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club where he’s a member.

Now that’s funny!

It’s just a shame that “The Main Event” was the foundation for a modern day political campaign and not a Not the Um Um or Saturday Night Live skit; the rally was the carefully planned, scripted and choreographed launch of a political campaign…in the year 2007. Divide and conquer never loses its appeal does it.

Believe it or not, seven years into the new millennium, the content of the PLP’s campaign to determine our future is built around racial slurs not issues. The list is long and shameful: “slave masters”, “confused negroes”, “lying, vile, underhanded, vengeful dragons”, pulling mortgages, “racist dogs”, “throwing out the milk with the rest of the garbage” and threats of a race riot if the heat isn’t reduced.

If it’s a comedy it’s a farce. If it was intended as drama it’s a tragedy.

The comedic element to this is of course the hypocrisy of a party that has been predicting that the UBP is going to run a nasty campaign before initiating theirs with such unbridled small-minded hatred; it’s the PLP putting words in UBP members mouths – Phil Perinchief did exactly that when he claimed that the UBP has talked of dictatorships – so that they can then attack them for things they’ve never said; it’s a party that demands that people are respectful of their MPs, while they ruthlessly smear anyone who dare take an alternative view.

The problem here – or at least one of the many problems – is that the PLP’s campaign has started on such a shrill note that it is hard to imagine how much worse the racism will get. And it will get worse. You can’t pivot from “Don’t vote for the former masters and their confused negroes” to “by the way, have you seen our housing plan?” and expect the latter to be heard.

Supposedly, elections are about the future. So far, it’s more like back to the future. Intolerance and the political exploitation of racial wounds is not going to move Bermuda forward. Tolerance, ideas, accountability, integrity and honesty will.

There was none of that at “The Main Event”.

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