Day 63

Today happens to be an exciting day in Spain.

The local tourist office is crowded with people, yet not the typical bunch…the ones who look confused by everything with oversized sunglasses, flip flops, pale skin or severe sunburn…its always one or the other. Nope today its filled with Spaniards voting in the national elections. The current Prime Minister of Spain (since 2004) is Zapatero, he’s from the Socialist party. Normally elections wouldn’t happen till 4 months later, but he called for early elections this term because Spain’s in deep shit. Leaders of Greece and Italy couldn’t handle things either and resigned.

Unemployment is around 21% overall, and 45% for young people, according to one CNN article posted today.

Its Mariano Rajoy from the Popular Party (conservative) vs Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba from the Socialist Party. Opinion polls suggest that Rajoy will win. I would bet that he does…but results won’t be out for a few hours yet.

The news channels have been covering the elections all over the country. Its been a very good turn out from what has been shown, despite the horrible weather not only here in Torrox, and Andalucia but in other parts of the country as well. There has been severe flooding in various cities. The Spanish seem to be taking this vote pretty serious. Many adults are bringing their children to show them the importance of voting. One woman on the news said she believes she must vote because that way she can protest when things fall apart later.

Also in the news, in Madrid an old man, almost 100 years old  went out to vote. He then proceeded to die as he left the polls. The Spanish Crisis Killed Him!!! sorry. Thats not funny.

I admit to not following the Spanish elections as closely as I perhaps should be. It really all seems like nonsense and as if nobody has concrete ideas and propositions to something that is very serious. This is also very apparent in local Spanish politics as well. I’ll explain.

A few weeks back now I was in at the cafe sitting outside. I had just found out they have chocolate flavored tea!! Its my new favorite.

SO I’m having this tasty low-cal tea when I hear THE SONG. The one song that every child learns to recognize, regardless of economic, religious, or ethnic background. The Ice Cream truck song!!!! I actually stopped what I was doing to look up and search for what I thought must be a miracle…an ice cream truck in Torrox?!

It wasn’t an ice cream truck. Nope. No push-up pops, no drumsticks, no fudge bars.

It was a little red beat up car with cheap speakers attached to the top of it blaring a political ad set to the tune of the Ice Cream truck song!!!

What a dirty trick I thought. Get people all excited and listening and then sling them with your political propaganda!  Thats not even the worse of it. The worse part is that it was just the beginning. That stupid red beater drives all around town, at all hours of the day blaring its crap. When you hear the song which is loud enough to penetrate the walls of your house, it causes you to momentarily stop whatever your doing to think, “what the hell is that? … oh its just the propaganda…” and then continue whatever it was you were doing. But the thing is, the car goes too fast, and the song is too long for anyone to actually hear the whole thing…you only catch little bits of it, like “education is important” or “we need jobs” and then it fades out.

I first noticed the car in Torrox but I’ve seen it down in the coast now too. One day after school I was walking to the bus stop to go home. I pass by a church, which on that day was flooded with people wearing black and following a hearse that had caused traffic to back up. I respectfully walked past the crowd, and as I did I heard that political song again,…blaring over the muffled cries of those grieving. I almost walked up over to the man driving the car to tell him to shut-up….but fortunately I think he realized it was a funeral and pulled the car over and turned it off before I got to him.

The man who is behind the political song is running for governor. He has the most notably funded campaign out of the few other candidates also running for the same position. He’s an older man, its hard for me to guess his age,..but 60 seems safe. There are large banners with his slogan hung up in the streets. His slogan translates to: Rebel! Somehow I’m not convinced by this 60 year old man. There seems nothing revolutionary or progressive about him at all, or the way he is trying to capture voters attention.

Then that got me thinking. I really don’t know his position at all. The only thing I know is that he has posters and banners all over, overshadowing the rest, and he has an annoying little song that plays non-stop multiples times throughout the day making broad claims. Has any candidate ever come out and said, “you know I don’t really care for children…or their education” or ” I have a job…and thats good enough for me…” ??? Of course every  politician “believes” in health care, and jobs, and the economy…and that seems to be enough. To have an actual position or a plan for any of those issues seems to be irrelevant.

I was 18 when I worked for the Democratic Party. I made $10 an hour (which was big money!) and I went door to door and called people up and told people about Steve Kegan. The information I gave them was obviously biased but at least I was actually connecting with people and engaging in real conversation, one in which the people could question, or debate and disagree with me. From that experience I really witnessed the power of Ad campaigns. Many people I spoke with strictly got their information from the Ads they had seen on T.V. and were planning to base their vote according. Why would that be any different anywhere else? The T.V. news in Torrox is National. The newspapers don’t cover the local candidates. I haven’t heard any dialog amongst the townspeople. No fliers have come to my door. Just the ice cream truck song.

I asked the lady of the cafe about this. This all makes me curious, so I’m starting to probe around the issue. She confirmed that there really is no information about the candidates, just maybe once and awhile they might publish a pamphlet. She said it didn’t matter either way because everyone’s the same.

She said it didn’t matter.

Everyone’s the same.



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