I've been getting a variety of verbal reactions to some of my written musings on Jay Kay, challenging me to 'declare my politics'. The terminally suspicious jingoists are certain that I must be a puppet speaking on behalf of The Kenyan Invasion to undermine This Great Nation Of Ours. The professional malcontents accuse me of, how to put this, applying my reverently puckered lips to the collective backsides of the President and the Establishment. Truth is, I am doing this for reasons far more selfish than anti-patriotism or sycophancy.
Power interests me. This is part of an ongoing project to learn through experience and reading and conversations what our relationship is to formal authority and how that affects how we govern ourselves and who we choose to lead our public institutions. Natch, these 'governance' or 'political' issues affect how I live my day-to-day life: whom I am "allowed" to love, how much I pay for electricity, who has the right to disconnect my water, what I can wear in public, whether or not I can stand for public office, what I can afford to eat, how long I have to wait in line for a passport, so on so forth.
Since I do all that living in Tanzania, evidently I must study Tanzanian power structures. And since, generally speaking, Tanzania suffers from fantastically crap institutions, all roads lead to the President*. And since we choose to defer so much power to the President, it is in my interest to know what kinda guy or gal the incumbent is.
It suits me just fine, for example, that Jay Kay's technophilia and evident love of all things young, shiny and new makes him more of a friend to eMedia than an enemy (for the most part). As a liberal-slash-blogger-slash-aspiring-writer-slash-feminist-etc, I need a Head of State who is friendly towards freedom of expression and I prefer one who is not paternalistic in his approach to power. Jay Kay kinda-sorta fulfills these requirements (hey, everyone is a work-in-progress).
Just because I like him- and you do too, you know that smile is irresistible- doesn't mean that I agree with everything he does, or think that he is The Second Coming with a slice of foie gras on top. Charm can only get you so far. I suspect he's messing up very badly in certain ways, but I can't exactly walk into his office and have this chat over a cup of coffee. That is just not how the system works. However, I am at liberty to communicate in other ways. A liberty I evidently exploit and am ready to defend along with every other form of liberty I currently enjoy and any future liberties I might acquire.
The non-selfish part? No woman is an island, and these things must be negotiated with the rest of the folks out there. As long as people are willing to defend liberty, we all benefit. Kinda like a social JKT. So, I hope that helps clear up any questions you might have had, dear Tanzanian reader-who-is-likely-to-ambush-me-at-a-bar-or-workshop, about why I write about Jay Kay the way I do. It's imperfect- like him I'm learning on the job and I have certainly committed my share of mistakes. But at heart we both love this country and serve it to the best of our abilities. Thanks for asking. Let's talk. Please use the comments section- its there for you!
*Yeah, I know there's other "important" branches of government. But, like, not really. That's the problem.