Election, huh?

The party’s over. The cola war went well. All of them were proved wrong, especially those who thought I wont show interest in the polls since I dont have a stake!
Look who won the bet. In the god’s country, the devil is still fighting.
Of course I stayed awake the whole WHOLE night. Despite the fact that I had three classes to attend the next morning! My Professor pardoned the class and we did not have to make presentation. But boy! were everyone sad!
All kinds of exclamations and the university folks were mourning the arrival of the dreaded.
I thought I will write what I felt. To show solidarity with the good human beings. And then thought, being good was not going to be enough. One needed to be effective as well. And we could not mourn forever. We got to fight back as well. Not just the ‘others’ but our self too. Here is what I thought ….

The cola war is over!
I know we should be sorry. We did all that we could. And we still lost.
But hey, who is this “us”?
Some of us most certainly accepted the Pepsi on the campus. Even drank Aquafina and ate Lays because Pepsi was our choice. Of course all that’s Pepsi need not suck. But what sucked was why Pepsi did not make us win even when we did not allow Coke to enter the Stamp Student Union?
And why we feel lost still.
Was it because we sided with Pepsi over Coke and thought it was important that we support one over the other?
And what about those of us who thought at least Coke was red in color and was looking better than the blue Pepsi? And those of us who thought there were actually some independent health drinks available in market that were better, in content, even if not in taste? And have we counted those of us who thought all those drinks were anyway available in the markets because they tolerated each other on purpose and thrived because of their mutual agreed terms of the system and hence we did not have to drink any of them?
So, come to think of it, who is this “us” that we think we represent? And why should everybody be sorry about this?
Did we miss the bus if we thought that either Pepsi or Coke could do the job. And thought we did not have to look at the economics of the soft-drink industry to assess if they were legitimizing profits on behalf of our names? Or that they were simply unhealthy, made us fat and made us less energetic to fight?
Now we have coke reigning over the country. But not in the University of Maryland campus still. Because we wont give up. We will still play by the rules. Accept the contract and extend the contract. And fight Pepsi over Coke.
And we think we will win!

Think again!
Have we struggled enough? Well, first of all, no victory is possible without the required amount of struggle. And we have not struggled enough. We enjoyed the popcorn in air-conditioned theatres and watched Michael Moore making fun of Arabs and we assumed we had won the war. We let some publishers make huge money by fictionalizing Bush to a toon character and arranged the books neatly on the coffee table, and we thought we had won the war. We sponsored the Disinformation series by watching Outfoxed time and again to watch an obvious liar called O’Reilly and thought we now knew the truth and hence we had won the war.
We thought by defeating Bush, we will have won the war. Well, that’s what Bush also thought. By defeating Saddam, he thought he would win the war. And we did not still learn from such an assumption even from borrowed experience.
Its not Bush who is important. He is just someone people voted to power. In his place it could be anyone else. Because the post of the president is sacred and upheld. And in a certain style of democratic thought, its meant to be permanent.
Its not one person holding office who deserves such importance we confer. It’s merely a public office one holds just as anyone holds an office at a public university or one who recycles the garbage.
We have not won the war. Because there is none. In this country there is poverty. Poverty of public knowledge. Knowledge about the homeless, the uneducated, the unemployed and the marginal groups. What we need is not a reactionary war, what we need is an affirmative action to ensure that all of us at least know of the issues. The issue, that we all matter. That all of us, despite our nationalities, sexual orientations, economic classes, religions and perceived security threats, matter. That there is not a red state and a blue state. Just like we don’t need to fight with Pepsi or the Coke. This is just one country of misinformed public. A public which is not ignorant, but one which is controlled.
No war against Bush will ever work. It’s not his fault that he got elected. People deserve the kind of government they elect. And its not people’s fault if they genuinely thought that theirs is the only God’s land and that God has indeed said xy and z.
Its our fault, that we have not been able to reach out to each and everyone in this country. If there were half of people in this country who genuinely believe in the blue, they need to go and interact with at least one more red each and discuss issues. One person talking to one person will make two thirds know of the issues and be able to distinguish them from non-issues.
That is what we need to do. To talk of issues. To make a movement. To support the oppressed people and rise against the oppressors. Bush was voted to power by the poor, unemployed people who still think he is a supreme patriot (sic!). Underestimating it would call for doom. We have to respect the decision made by the people and then reach out to them to discuss issues which are important and find ways to solve them. Party-bashing is a silly game. Issue-raising is the call of the day.
Enough of the two parties. And their proclaimed representatives. People need to know why all this farce if both Pepsi and Coke do the same stuff. Both the drinks are already available in the grocery shops. They don’t walk out of the refrigerators to talk to people. Instead people go and spend on them.
Lets stop being consumers. And lets stop being the fans. Lets stop being feeling sorry.
We gotta know the power is in the people. Not in those that are meant to serve them.

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Author: Saswat Pattanayak

Journalist, Generalist, Atheist, Poet, Lover, Photographer, Communist, Third wave Feminist, LGBT ally, Black power comrade, Peacenik, Anti-capitalist, Critical media theorist, Radical film critic, Academic non-elite…

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