As I returned to the table with my plate of food I heard one of the people at the table telling another "You always want to talk politics. Politics is your entire life. I don't want to talk about politics". The exchange went back and forth for several volleys.
I was thinking: "Oh no. Black folks talking
It is true. I am not sure if there is another group of Americans who have the combination of the desire to talk about political affairs and who uniformly speak from the vantage point of their party - which they vicariously insert THEIR RACE when they are merely talking ideology and partisanship. (Or to say that more clearly 90% of what is claimed to be "Black issues" are in truth left-wing, progressive issues, said by people who have a lumenprolitariate viewpoint.)
The strong proponents of JLP went on to promote the glories of their party. Someone noted the green that she was wearing in line with her party. Another person noted how he went home during the last election and felt a strong sense of "Black power!!" after getting caught up in the campaign rhetoric.
"WAIT!!", I thought to myself - "All of you all down there are Black. How do you feel 'Black power' from campaigning in a nation that is likely 96% Black when the other side is also Black? Are you sure that it wasn't something else that you were feeling? Maybe someone is manipulating you into fusing your racial/national pride with the party.". Sounds to me like the 'Malcolm X Political Football Game' is not limited to America.
Despite what you might assume from my disposition on this blog - I would prefer to talk everything but politics when I am in friendly settings. The simple truth is that when you have a room full of Black folks - you can already guess how the conversation will go - Politics. PERIOD. (Admittedly there is far more ideologically and political open-mindedness among Blacks immigrants. While they largely agree with the messages that the "Black Racial Services Machine" pump into the Black community the dispersion of though that they see in their home countries affords the possibility that they'll be a bit more honest about the condition of native Black Americans. )
After listening to the talk and understanding that they were talking about Jamaica I asked them all: "Tell me what the JLP and the JPP have done in aggregate for the country of Jamaica and its absolute standing?"
"Tourism has grown with the JLP in power. The JLP has strong leadership.", said one person.
Their nation is too dependent on tourism. As the USA and Europe fall into recession their national fortunes plummet as a result. Tourism and agriculture suffer as their primary customers slow their purchases. I asked the group "What happens if the present fiscal problems in Europe continue and if America continues to struggle for several more years? How will this impact tourism?".
I sensed that I had the support of another Jamaican lady at the table from my question. She said "Did you hear what he asked you? He didn't ask you to talk about your party. He asked you about what they together are doing for the people and the country besides fighting with each other.".
I told them about a recent meeting with a large American corporation that had outsourced about 600 of their white collar IT workers to an Indian firm. This firm in India (Infosys) was founded by 5 people who worked for a time in the USA and Europe and then went home to India to bring opportunity to their own people.
Jamaica just announced that one of their telecom companies, Lime, has 100Mb FTTH (fiber to the house). The last time I was in Jamaica I was able to watch movies streamed from the USA with high quality. You all have the infrastructure to do the same thing as India.
"Its a matter of leadership", said one person. The politicians in Jamaica only care about making money for their friends and about squabbling with each other for political gain. It takes visionary leadership to go beyond where we are."
The expats at the event who are from my generation all all college educated, white collar professionals in the United States. Each of them are performing high value added tasks in America that would lift their native land to the next level but for the "brain drain".
At the same time it is also true that technical professionals (accountants, lawyers, etc) don't necessarily have the will to go beyond their comfort zone to create institutional reform to scale of what is needed to provide opportunity for "the least of these" who need something to plug into.
The Material Damage From Partisan Induced Blindness
As an American who has the opportunity to interact with individuals from other countries frequently the observable patterns of people are obvious over time.
The two competing parties in Jamaica - JLP on the right and PNP on the left ultimately must govern the nation, despite their infighting. Jamaica is effectively a mono-racial nation despite having a significant mixture of Indian, Chinese and mulatto people. The battles between the parties is no less toxic than the Republican/Democratic gang war here in America. The key difference is that RACE and charges of RAICSM is functionally taken off of the table.
The standard class-based argument in Jamaica - where the "poor" charge that the opposition party only cares about the rich people and their own clique is also present here in America. The charge of RACISM - as I have argued for some time - is merely a vector for indictment. The ultimate agenda is ideologically based partisan interests. Surely you don't believe that ideology is a distinct container for racist thoughts. The truth is that one's own partisan interests and "joint-venture partnerships" compels the person to speak their views or keep silent because the ballot from their partner of a different race is more important than spewing racial insults.
It is patently difficult for an operative who is marinated into the political game to take a step back and do what is best for the country. The potential loss of marginal self-interest (lets say the next election) is too costly for such an operative to agree to.
The most effective way to expose the damage that these operatives do to the larger cause is to do comparative analysis of their opportunity costs of the lack of direction. Other, more focused competitors have gained marketshare - or MORE IMPORTANTLY - expanded the market and are tipping the balance in their favor.
Despite their present domination in the present form - they all rely on control over the NARRATIVE to compel their loyal followers to remain true. The other guy is the reason for the present failures and "their guy" is the cause of the good things. As I said at the table of friends noted above - "The main benefit of political parties is their ability to compel people to accept the failure that they would have rejected had the enemy did the same thing".
Without some common agreement that is larger than their marginal interests OR a third party entity (not necessarily a "Third Party" but something that is outside of the political domain - religion or culture) these self-interested operatives will destroy whatever country they are allowed to preside over.
Sadly some of the people will be cheering the apparent "forward progress" as the vehicle they are riding on heads over the cliff.