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Colour me red, white and blue! (Maybe)

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Tue, Aug 28, 2012

Editor: In the coming weeks, all of us in SVG will be casting a wary (weary?) eye towards the pitched election battles in the United States, where Republicans and Democrats will ratchet-up their mudslinging, divisiveness and extreme partisanship in the lead-up to their respective political conventions and, ultimately, their November election.{{more}}

But after reading last Friday’s SEARCHLIGHT, I am heartened that I have found yet another example of why we Vincys are better than our American neighbours: because while Democrats fight Republicans in the USA, they live happily under one roof in SVG – in our newly-formed Democratic Republican Party!

Even better, the colours of the new DRP, as explained in detail by party-founder Anesia Baptiste, are red, white and blue! The same colours of the American flag! What can that be but a none-too-subtle dig at the land of Romney and Obama? Mr President, YOUR red, white and blue is hopelessly divided. On the other hand, OUR red, white and blue is clearly a more perfect union!

After the democrat + republican + red, white and blue motif, I was hoping that Anesia would have made her party symbol some combination of stars and stripes, to evoke the old glory of America’s banner. But, maybe because the ULP has already appropriated the star, Anesia went a different route. According to the SEARCHLIGHT:

“Baptiste displayed T-shirts, which bore the symbol of the new party: a blue clenched fist over a red heart, with a white banner and the inscription “I Am A Democratic Republican”.

And that’s where I get a little lost.

First off, while the whole heart-fist-banner thing makes for an undeniably trendy T-shirt (do I get one with my $2 membership?), it’s not the easiest thing to reproduce on a ballot paper. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there a law that prescribes exactly which symbols a political party can use in SVG? I thought that the Representation of the People Act said that only nine symbols were permitted by political parties: The bicycle, the car, the clock, the ship, the star, the telephone, the heart, the key and the dove.

Not a blue fist or banner to be found anywhere in the Act. (I thought that Anesia would’ve surveyed the list of nine available symbols and chosen the dove – since it’s so evocative of religion and purity and martyrdom and all). Does that mean that Anesia’s party is illegal? Has the Government ALREADY begun its victimization of the DRP?

But that’s not the end of my confusion. You see, Madame Editor, Mrs. Baptiste has established herself over her short political career as an avowed anti-communist crusader, a modern-day Joe McCarthy. But her party’s chosen symbol is more commie than a Soviet hammer & sickle.

The heart, as we all know, has a political history in SVG. It was the symbol of the United People’s Movement, the only Marxist-Leninist party in the history of SVG. The UPM was so communist that it drove “Comrade” Ralph Gonsalves off to form the slightly-less-leftist Movement for National Unity (whose symbol was the now-outdated rotary telephone).

Well, Anesia is a young lass, and maybe she didn’t know about the UPM’s adoption of the heart as a symbol of socialist revolution in SVG. Surely though, as our leading young anti-communist crusader, she would know the history of the clenched fist!

Since the Bolshevik Revolution, the clenched fist embraced by Mrs Baptiste has been the most recognizable international symbol of leftist solidarity. It began its political life as the symbol of the communists in the Spanish civil war, who used it as a counterpoint to the open-palmed Roman salute favoured by the fascists. In the 60s and 70s, it came to our region as a symbol of the vaguely leftist Black Power movement, as well as the salute of the avowedly socialist People’s National Party in Jamaica.

The only way that Anesia could’ve made a more socialist symbol is if they took her UPM heart, her Bolshevik fist, and somehow combined it with an MNU phone and a Labour star!

Maybe this is another stroke of the DRP’s genius: maybe, Anesia is telling me that the DRP is a big tent, under which not only democrats and republicans, but also communists and anti-communists can find political joy and fulfillment!

Maybe.

Or maybe this multicoloured, multisymbolled party that sends mixed signals with its mixed symbols is just all a bit . . . schizophrenic.

Vincy Patriot
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