Editorial: ‘Silly Season’ Caribbean style

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Welcome to ‘the silly season!’ Yes, the election season is upon us, even at our doors. This much is evident at the uptick in ‘silly’ talk. The ‘silly’ season is a term especially popular in America, and it refers to that time of the year when the American Congress is on its summer recess, and the English parliament is on its annual vacation. With so many vain-glorious and megalomaniacal men and women (they can especially be found in the halls of Congress and the Houses of Commons and Lords) out of town, the news cycle slows down, and journalists are forced to forage for news.
Remember, politicians are loquacious creatures, and they are always good for an outrageous quote. Just push the right buttons, and politicians will take the bait and utter a surfeit of blither and blather – enough to fill a newspaper, provide fodder for an editorial, a letter to the editor, several op-ed pieces and feature on the evening newscast. It is the nature of the beast, the coin of the political realm!
Of course, in the absence of the flotsam and jetsam from the politicians, the British and American media usually come up with ‘silly’ and fluffy stories to fill time and space. Some of the ‘silliness’ and fluff are the pap pieces upon which coffee table magazines and supermarket tabloids thrive. Others are the highly sensationalised utterances of politicians and other public figures.  Some of those fluff pieces include “How to make the perfect soufflé,” “The best suntan lotions,” “The health benefits of aloe vera,” and “Mayor proposes one-year economic turnaround.” (These grand pronouncements never materialise!)  
Here in the Caribbean, we really do not have a ‘down-time,’ in the news cycle, but when parliament is in session, and at groundbreaking ceremonies, or any other major event where a politician can preen and prance and self-promote, the ‘stuff’ will be flying fast and furious, and the airwaves and print media will not want for lack of the outrageous, and the hyberbole. Seems, here in the Caribbean, every season is ‘silly season.’ Be it Sailing Week or Carifesta, or Reggae Sumfest, or Mashramani (Guyana’s annual celebrations after hard work) or Carnival or any significant national event or celebration, there is an abundance of ‘silliness,’ and it is of the ‘Hey, look at me’ variety!
The unveiling of the sixteen candidates to contest the elections on the United Progressive Party (UPP) ticket this past Sunday, was officially the start of our elections ‘silly’ season. True, the slow roll out of the Democratic National Alliance candidates began the ball rolling, but the buzz really swung into high gear this week with the UPP presentation of candidates, and the prospect of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) biennial convention.
Yes, with the political machines gearing up for what promises to be a hard-fought campaign, we fear that ‘silliness’ will be on full display, and the public will be required to ‘pick sense from nonsense’ and sift the ‘silliness.’
We sincerely trust that with this election cycle, the candidates and politicians will spare us the ‘silliness’ for a change. Inasmuch as ‘silliness’ can result in higher newspaper sales, we here at OBSERVER media are supremely more interested in raising the political discourse and providing the body politic with thoughtful and well-reasoned debate and information so that the voters can make an informed choice come election day. Again we call on those who would’st lead us to eschew the trivial, and the temptation to resort to political antics and semantics. Let it never be said of them, as was said of Gratiano in Shakespeare’s MERCHANT OF VENICE, “[He] speaks a great deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff – you shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them, they are not worth the search.” 
We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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