The Political Match

We always have the same team of politicians coming back for election time. Some have done very badly and underperformed… But like the Liverpool FC fans, we just went on supporting the same figures

By Dr Rajagopal Soondron

The theists are having a tough time in Mauritius just now; they are baffled and irritated by the behaviour of some of our politicians – their eternal double standard, their nerve to go on promising heaven to the poor, their temerity to come and ask for our forgiveness and to request for our support yet gain. For the religious men life is a real psychological burden as our politicians keep harping on their finer emotions. They believe that God created man a perfect being – and yet here are His Mauritian progenies coming down so low in their political behaviour. It’s a tragedy, causing a lot of men of the church to be desperate of human nature – which, to them, is always going downhill after the act of Creation.

 But to the atheist, believing in biological evolution, Mauritius is just now supplying them with a lot of fun. Coming from the cave, with his inborn cruelty, his murderous tendencies to stab anyone in the back or his willingness to cheat the food from his mouth for survival sake… the Sapiens Mauritianius now wears a full suit, sits at tables to eat, talk and laugh with other friends. He walks down to the Electoral Commission joyfully to have himself registered for the forthcoming political bout, without butchering anyone on his way as in the past. For nowadays we have all sorts of laws, of tacit understanding to respect the opponents to a certain extent; concurrently our politicians have learnt how to hide their feelings behind their hollow talk and false smiles.

What a long journey down the millennia when our illiterate ancestors had to overcome all sorts of opposition from cruel heads of the tribes, despots, totalitarian monarchs, the nobility, and finally the super rich to finally acquire that most sacred gift – to be able to choose, to decide and to vote. It has been a long tortuous way but the atheists are proud of the human race – it has progressed.

Our match

Now that the law of the land stipulates that everyone is free and has freedom of thought and choice, some of us, who still want to play the powerful ego-centered monarchs in the background, have been plotting how to influence and manipulate that freedom given to the masses – to make them dance to their tunes. No wonder we are actually witness to the outbidding tactics used by political leaders to gift all sorts of perks to some categories of people. They know it would be easier to influence the uneducated than the educated, so they target them in broad daylight.

Long ago political public meetings were a must if a politician wanted to be elected; but the majority of voters have no time to come and listen to hollow promises from the soap boxes. They can vet their real worth from the political speeches on Tv, or read about all the biased news that most of our social media could send us. We may sneer at the electronic media, but from the dawn of our species we have been dying to correspond with our neighbours and friends. After all, talking to others has been an important milestone in our cognitive evolution. No wonder as we acquire new technologies our first thought is to send messages into outer space to see whether we have any response from other intelligent beings. Hence the love for our social media.

So true to our human nature, we adore hearing the latest news – even all the rumours that are being spun by opponents. Subsequently our grey cells are going haywire with so much of contradictory truths and fake news being scattered by the readily available social media. As a result all the polls trying to predict the outcome of the 7th November election could be just as true as a soap bubble — and could be anyone’s guess or biased beliefs.

So we are now about to assist to that 5-yearly match; we see almost the same leaders that we have known for the past few decades. It’s like watching the rivalry between Liverpool FC and Manchester United football teams (Lfc and Man U). Sometimes they do so badly, yet we ultimately watch them on their ground week after week. For 20 years every amateur, except the owners or the coach, had known that Lfc needed a good back to redress their poor performance.

The team fanatics, least bothered about the standard of the game, came regularly in hordes to watch that team’s irritating decline; they were unconditional supporters, like religionists gathering in the churches or temples every Sunday or so. Had they protested, had they abstained from coming to the ground, the owners of the LFC team, experiencing financial loss, might have got the message and reacted decades ago to reform the team. But why should the directors waste money? the stands were always full; the fans were paying royally to assist to the mediocre matches!

It is a similar scenario in our political paradise island. We always have the same team of politicians, most often family clans, coming back for election time. Some have done very badly and underperformed – the audit bureau would tell us – we should have reacted at the polling station and expressed our dissatisfaction. But like the LFC fans, we just went on supporting the same figures – and we even feel happy about our choice. In so doing, we are defeating our long manifested ideals of living for the next generation and youngsters to come.

Our ideals and action do not match — the same paradoxical psychological complex force that seems to haunt us humans for our whole life. Our rationalization runs on high horses, but when it comes to practice we become emotional; we think of our clan, our tribal attachments, of our linguistic similarities with the political candidates, of our fear inherited from the depth of time in the jungle – always fearing that the other tribe will take over and impose their way of life, beliefs and culture. Each of us loves whatever fortifies our sense of belonging, which will ensure comfort and safety from foreign different traditions and behaviour.

The Optimists

The atheists and sociologists love those five-year trysts. They offer the opportunity to gauge what progress the Mauritians have made; whether they could change political affinities; whether the younger generations, who are supposed to be more educated, would become nearer to the ideals that have inspired great minds of the past, or whether we have still a long way to go to achieve rational thinking – when all of us will be working for the uplifting of the nation. And be ready to sacrifice personal biases in favour of the common good of future generations.

We should stop criticizing our politicians – they are human beings, part of our species. Most probably they epitomize what we all are; because we – meaning the majority of us — are no better. Had we the talent and money we would have become politicians also and committed the same mistakes they are committing now. We would be prisoners of our time, of our culture and the prevailing environment. Because had we been different we would have stopped tolerating and voting for those who had done us so much harm during their tenure of office. And our failure to discriminate tells us that we, the majority of voters, are no better. We are stuck psychologically to our choices – as we are to LFC or Man U. We are incapable to realize that there are better teams – like Barcelone FC. Looks as if we Mauritians don’t have the intelligence to think differently.

Maybe with better education we may come out of our cocoon.

* Published in print edition on 31 October 2019

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