The De­gen­er­ate Party of Torch­lights

Business Bhutan - - Opinion - The writer is an ed­i­tor, writer and founder of yal­lam­ma_the_writ­ing_­com­pany. JURMI CHHOWING

First up, just so you know, I’m not an ad­her­ent of any po­lit­i­cal party.

The last time I was, the year was 2008, and I be­came an un­will­ing yet ac­tive par­tic­i­pant of the demo­cratic process that ended rather ig­no­min­iously for the head­lin­ing party in 2013. And like me, many came out scathing; hold­ing their tails be­tween their legs at what the cho­sen party had landed up con­coct­ing – a broth so vile it brought about their ig­no­min­ious end.

Or so it seemed, to put it mildly.

Not that I was a party-zealot. I could have been one – a real con­tender - but my so called jour­nal­is­tic ethos bound me in, mak­ing cer­tain I’d clos­eted my­self to be­come a bonafide hyp­ocrite; al­beit with the best of in­ten­tions. And that is what pol­i­tics does; it has this un­canny power to un­leash the worst bits in our­selves.

A decade back - I was - as all Bhutanese were, hyp­no­tized by the blind­ing beams of the De­gen­er­ate Party of Torch­lights. And the se­duc­tive foil of their sil­ver-tongued snake of a lead­er­ship. But time tells, the bells toll, and by 2013 the ser­pents in that pit had shed their pri­vate skins to re­veal their pub­lic snake-skins.

Thank­fully, I was gone. A part of me still feels like the cow­ard that ran away from the bat­tle­fields when the war for the honor of the home­land was wag­ing, if you will ex­cuse the mil­i­taris­tic metaphor. But there is no bar­ring the fact that it was a mar­ring war.The stakes are high - af­ter all - we are but a small na­tion of 700,000 brethren where ev­ery voice counts as a rec­og­niz­able echo. In this land of pass­ing fa­mil­iar­ity, strangers are just a glance, a greet­ing, a hand­shake and a friend­ship away, in­clud­ing our so called en­e­mies. Un­less some­thing dis­turbingly sin­is­ter is lurk­ing, as was the endgame for that De­gen­er­ate Party of Torch­lights, who shed their in­hi­bi­tions to demon­strate their am­bi­tions; naked as a new born babe, but stripped of the in­no­cence. This proved to be their curse, and for want of a nest, their flocks were lost.

As cow­ardly as I feel about my un­in­ten­tional ab­sence, I’m glad the cir­cus came to town and put on a halt and a show. And how the spec­ta­tors saw through the sham­bles, or par­took of it. That makes me ashamed of my coun­try­men who cheered from the rows and the rafters, and proud of my coun­try­men who saw through the hides and left those treach­er­ous tides.

The res­o­nance is loud and clear – aban­don cau­tion and pol­i­tics be­comes the bedrock of am­bi­tion that can blindly cat­a­pult both can­di­da­ture and base to height­ened realms of starry delu­sions plot­ting a chang­ing of the guards and sir­ing new dy­nas­ties. To­day, bar­ring a nom­i­nal few good men and women, there are no good men or women run­ning the elec­toral race, un­less proven, and none of them are proven as yet. But they do en­joy the ben­e­fit of the doubt, as did the ones prior, who were ac­corded the same gen­eros­ity and re­paid it back so falsely.

The onus is squarely onto us to pick our teeth us­ing the sharpest tooth­picks avail­able, or fash­ion­ing one to bet­ter pick the meat; and to swal­low it in or spit it out.

I’m spitting it out. Now the leak­ing bat­ter­ies in the cells of the De­gen­er­ate Party of Torch­lights are fus­ing out, and the party with­out a pe­riph­eral vi­sion has now struck a chord with Madam X.

The song they are gonna be singing is gonna be a tone-deaf jam­ses­sion of may­hem-melodies pre­sented as merry-mak­ing ser­e­nades. Am­bi­tion gets the bet­ter of our­selves; ev­ery time. But in elec­toral ma­neu­ver­ings, that am­bi­tion must be ob­served and cur­tailed, wher­ever it shows its ma­nip­u­lat­ing grump, like Richard The Third and his con­niv­ing hump.

But I’m also glad to hear of their duet. Just as ev­ery dog has its day, no know­ing cat will give a meow. Ei­ther way, they are on Deso­la­tion Row, and Dy­lan wouldn’t be happy to have them there ei­ther. Their dim­ming torch­light has now mor­phed into a flick­er­ing wick burn­ing out the last dregs of their inessen­tial oils. I hope they burn out. And med­i­tate in the dark­ness to re­dis­cover an em­ber to save their own sold-out souls.

But un­like 2008, to­day I’m a de­cided voter. And the flash­light party is not get­ting my pre­cious vote. No Sir. Even though the dis­turb­ing news on the rot­ting grapevine is that this party of poop­ers still com­mands the stray sup­port of a cesspool of co­horts gone bonkers in the Deep Corn Lands of the East. Be care­ful - my Wheaties - what you hope to eat to break your night­long fast could land up eat­ing you by break­ing dawn. And by reper­cus­sion - me - and I’ve no de­sire to be­come their break­fast, or any­one else’s meal for that mat­ter.

Now you can try forc­ing in some faith in a politi­cian; there is lit­er­ally no other way, but you can­not quite put your trust in one. Trust must be earned, and earn­ing any­thing of note takes time. Some­times they earn it and then break it apart by de­sir­ing more, as am­ply ex­hib­ited by that party.

It is a di­chotomy dressed in a para­dox jux­ta­po­si­tion-ing it­self as a non-oxy­moron parad­ing in the mid­dle as the col­lec­tive ‘Us’ – abus­ing the hal­lowed names of King, Coun­try and Peo­ple. But I’m not rent­ing that dark hol­low. I’d ven­ture a peek in that cav­ernous hole if they went about dis­solv­ing the rem­nants of their flash­lights, re­tired some ob­sti­nate old bat­ter­ies, and be­gan anew with a whole new cell. If ever.So what do you do? You keep your trump cards close to your chest - closer than you ever have. And you watch and match the word to the deed; the talk to the walk; and keep up the need to main­tain the heed. You use your com­mon sense. You raise your an­ten­nas north, and sep­a­rate the chalk from the cheese.

And you do that in ev­ery di­rec­tion. Be­cause, as Doc­tor King Schultz put it in Django, ‘Bromhilda Von Shaft is Worth It’.

And Our King­dom is Worth It.And fi­nally, some­one’s gotta touch you. It is the only way to feel your­self. There is no other way. It may be the lover. It may be the friend. But it will sel­dom be the politi­cian. Un­less the politi­cian is such a lover. And such a friend. But is there such a dove perched on your hand? In your small lit­tle pre­cious land? Play­ing a fair game? Peer­ing out of your se­lected frame?

I do. And it is not the faces of the De­gen­er­ate Party of Torch­lights. No mat­ter how many new faces they present as the next new light.

Be­cause they are demon­stra­bly not worth it.

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