What is the price of patriotism?
Patriotism is defined as the quality of being patriotic; vigorous support for one’s country; love of and devotion to one’s country. Patriotism is not a commodity to be bought and sold. So I’ve always believed until this week, after I received a government communiqué that offered monetary rewards for the most patriotic radio station and radio announcer.
The release described the government’s latest brainwave as “a deliberate strategy” on the part of the holder of the “creative portfolio” to partner with the National Independence Committee for the execution of Independence activities.
From the official vantage the contest offers the single greatest national opportunity for the display of creative works “in a manifold of exploits, at a time centered on national endeavor and a spirit of patriotism.”
Accordingly, activities have been “conceptualized in order to add value to the human resource base of the overall creative sector”—conceivably the most important being “a competition for the Most Patriotic Radio Station!”
Meanwhile, a team pooled from the various ministries will monitor participating radio stations to establish the winner of the dubious award.
According to the government press release: “Understanding the varying nature of radio station formats, brands and consumer audience bases, the time frame was set so as to allow a nationalistic focus relative to our Independence date that would not compromise any station significantly. Moreover, the sheer unprompted and undiscovered variety of music content of high quality may well prove serendipitous to all.”
As for being patriotic, even if only until Independence, the winning DJ will receive EC$1,000 with EC$1,000 also going to the most patriotic radio station. Does that mean the winning DJ could come, say, from RCI, while RSL takes the prize for being the nation’s most patriotic station?
I, for one, would like to know the scoring criteria. How do you determine whether Juk Bois, for instance, is less patriotic than, say, Shelton Daniel?
Doubtless, Jadia JnPierreEmanuel will keep the nation in touch!
I am also as much opposed to the legislating for more local airplay as I am about paying for patriotism. If at anytime those responsible for the radio stations and the announcers cannot come to the realization that the economic benefits of engendering a national music industry, as well as the intrinsic value of having national pride, should transcend all else, then I am sorry, maybe they are in the wrong position and paying them to think straight is like
paying a crook to keep out of jail. One more thing: is this the way of the government sanctioning “payola”, something which is illegal in the rest of the civilized world? In the meantime we wait on Dr. James Fletcher and the long awaited national broadcast act.
And so I return from whence I started: true patriotism for me must be rooted in an ideal that transcends self and lies not in mere physical ideals of the beauty of one’s country, but ideals that revere what gave birth to this nation. Reverences too, for those who put their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line for this country and those like Walcott who continue to stand up for Fair Helen, through thick and thin, from year to year. And this to me, dear reader, can never be bought nor sold.