The Volkswagen advertisement is not racist. It may encourage Americans and others to buy such a car and drive blissfully around like Jamaicans. But it is very wrong in its characterisation of Jamaicans as so happy amidst all the violence and poverty we have to endure.
The perception is that the average Jamaican lies around all day soaking up the sun, smoking ganja and awaiting the next remittance cheque. When we are thirsty we pick coconuts from the trees, when we are hungry we pick fruits that abound and when we get sick we get health care with no user fee. But this definitely isn't true. Many of us want to turn the frown around but unfortunately we can't.
Forbes Magazine tells us that the most prosperous countries enjoy stable political institutions, a strong civil society with freedom of expression, good education and health care, personal freedom, and a feeling of being safe and secure. These are primarily what determine which countries are among the happiest. The happiest people in the world are in Norway, followed by Denmark and Sweden, Australia, New Zealand. The saddest country on the Prosperity Index, is the Central African Republic, Congo, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, and Haiti.
Both Mrs Simpson-Miller and Mr Andrew Holness exhibit behaviour unbecoming of leaders when giving speeches. They both seem angry, abrasive, hateful, and strident. They need more than any of us to turn that frown around.
When Mrs Simpson Miller uttered those terrible words after narrowly losing the 2007 General Elections, "I will be your worst nightmare," it was shocking and incredible. But no one likened that outburst to her being an enemy of the State.
Both leaders are taking us back to a time that we would want to forget -- the days when the stridency of Michael Manley and Edward Seaga and their rhetoric resulted in their supporters wreaking havoc on the country. Then came PJ Patterson, who realised that you needed water to fight fire and severely neutralised Seaga.
The prime minister's aversion to criticisms exposes serious weaknesses and the leader of the Opposition screams that those who disagree with him must go, is just as bad. They both need to tone it down, we have more serious things to consider -- the IMF deal that will increase our debt to GDP, Dr Fenton Ferguson's determination to reinstate user fees, Derrick Kellier is planning to scale back PATH, a punishing drought, etc.
Unless they can both show us a path to prosperity and happiness, and decide whether stimulus or austerity will work, I fear that both may be labelled, fittingly, enemies of the State.
Siloah, St Elizabeth