Are Jamaicans willing to die on a hill for JLP or PNP?
Jamaica is not different from other democracies, but the ‘diehard culture’ we find ourselves entangled in is threatening to erode its relevance. Whether you are a dancehall versus reggae fan, a Kingston College versus Jamaica College supporter or even more importantly, a PNP versus JLP supporter, you find that it is tough to change the mindset of voters whose beliefs have become acculturated or encultured over the 60-odd years since Independence.
This issue has taken on added significance as municipal elections are around the corner. The young, old and those whose consider themselves neither need to take the time to evaluate both parties and understand that it is okay to agree or disagree with the policies, hopes, and plans of one side or a particular candidate, regardless of the colour association. The orange versus green fight can sometimes be dizzying. How about we choose genuine advancement, sound plans, set precedent, and even their mental fortitude or— age?
We Nah Move!
Jamaicans are seemingly inclined to stick to what they know, never truly bending their resolve in their beliefs. Wrong or right, progress or stagnation, as a people, it would seem colours and affiliations matter more than a successful country where each sector is operating optimally or at least, on track to optimality.
This is not to say one party is better than the next; it is simply a proposition of engaging with free will over tradition. The very point of a democracy is that it allows one to exercise one’s free will and to have a say in their government. We must consider the value being brought to the table over blind allegiance. Historically, we have seen where divisions and even parishes have bounced from orange to green and vice versa, but it cannot be said that this is due to the people’s changing perspective or maybe more people got their voter ID that year— or maybe the bribery money masked as a charity was good enough.
It is interesting to note that even after many stages of evolution, humans still have one trait that can either help or hinder us as a species, that is, that we find great difficulty in letting things go.
From this, we find people who hoard and others who apply sentimental value to seemingly simple things. In the same sense, you find people who are attached to harmful things; consider people in toxic relationships or those who smoke even though they know it is bad for them.
Wasting a Right
In the 2020 General Election, 37% of voters cast ballots, the lowest number since 1983, so Jamaica does not have the voting numbers. Why waste your vote on trivialities such as tradition? Why can’t we stagger our voting choices? Or is it that we trying to convey that neither JLP nor PNP are great options, so instead of changing who we vote for, we simply do not vote at all? The statistics above seem to elucidate that idea.
Nevertheless, we must weigh the facts, the pros and cons, and watch carefully scales as they tip on either side. If one is better by even the slightest percentage, that is reason enough to break away from the traditional/diehard voting style; that is if the odds were on your least favourite party’s side.
So, vote, and vote well — the choice does not belong to your parents, partners, friends or your community allegiances — though to be fair, the garrisons are a different dragon to slay since the member’s free will to vote for whom they believe in is affected by gang affiliations and corrupt politics. Your vote is too important to be wasted on whether or not green or orange looks better on you, or if your family would disagree with your choices and as Jamaicans say, ‘Have yuh up’.
Vote for your country. Vote for advancement and a brighter future; not green or orange.