Posted by Jiggy Gaton | Edit Post
Well, you know me, I am not really a political animal, and I don't like to get political in this column, as it just gets me into trouble and also bores the tears outta readers. But this week I just had to come out with a declaration on the state of modern politics: what a joke!
Take America for example; as they are gearing up to hold presidential elections again and Party hopefuls have a Super PAC started by a major TV comedian. That's right; Stephen Colbert & Co. is spoofing the (some would say corrupt) strategy of pumping corporate dollars into political campaigns with several hilarious campaign adverts. The "Mitt Romney as Serial Killer" spot is killer, and narrated by actor John Lithgow. Here is just a bit of the transcript:
"Mitt Romney has a secret...if Mitt Romney believes that corporations are people, than Mitt Romney is a serial killer... meet Mitt the Ripper (background scream). Brought to you by a Better Tomorrow, Tommorow."
In another faux advert, Colbert pokes fun at "Cornography," a piss take on Iowan's love for corn in this politically influential state that farms a lot of grain.
So many funny things to say...but should there be? Why are politics such a joke, almost worldwide, with politicians being the butt of so many crude jokes? Shouldn't the people that govern the communities of the world, or want to govern them, be taken seriously? But how can they be, when so many act foolishly on global television (e.g. YouTube).
It's no surprise that Mitt Romney has a "take me serious" problem when he appears on a live TV debate and muffs up his story about being a great white moose hunter (no sorry about that - elk hunter). When American politicians act like clowns, it's no surprise they are taken as one.
So all week long I have been asking every Nepali I met what they think of Nepal's politicians, just in case Nepal was an exception to this seemingly global rule that the major politicians of today are all just a bunch of buffoons.
"Those guys are a joke."
"Same old, same old."
"Nothing ever changes."
"The new ones are worse than the old ones."
"They say one thing, and do another."
So the answers went...not a single positive comment all week long...
Then two things struck me like dropping balloons on election night: 1) the fact that Steve Colbert used an age-old Nepali axiom when naming his fake campaign organization: Bholi, Bholi (Tomorrow, Tomorrow) and 2) a story circulating in the mainstream media that postulates why American politicians campaign as someone they are invariably not. Why do Harvard-educated lawyers or businessman want to be known as country bumpkins or everyday common folk?
The theory astounds: Recognizing that America is 80% non-agricultural, the theory is that most politicians don't recognize that stat - they still see the voting America as simple farmers and people who live off the land. Pandering to the poor, the earthy, and the common person. But in Nepal, we have the opposite, hoina? 80% of us are agricultural in nature, yet politicians here seem to want to be something else, or they say one thing and do another - according to my limited survey conducted.
So this Herojig Solution was cooked up after considering those two points: Why not set up a Politician Exchange Program, or PEP, where American wannabe (as well as current) leaders come to Nepal, and run for and hold office for a few years. Likewise, Nepali politicians would replace the slots left vacant by the American ones. You know, like the foreign student exchange programs from high school. The clash in political culture would be amazing, no?
Americans holding office here would get a chance to see what real problems look like, and see how hard they are to solve with very little budget. No longer could they waste frivolous time and money on trying to look like John Wayne cowboys, instead, they would have to figure out how to get electricity to folks. Clean water, abundant petro, and infrastructure programs would be back on the agenda for them, instead of endlessly debating gay marriage.
And Nepalese politicians would have a blast in American political offices, where they could learn some real neat tricks. Perhaps even learning the one where you trade clout with corporations in return for big wads of Super PAC cash. The learning opportunities for both sides are endless. (Although I suspect that America would be getting the better deal in this trade.)
Well that's my solution; what's yours?
Who the heck is he?
- Jiggy Gaton
- lives in Kathmandu and is an aging technologist - has been since the days of Woodstock - so in the words of Roland The Gunslinger "he is from a world now gone by." However, Jigs is extremely up-to-date on all things tech and is also available for hire.