Lord Neil Benjamin
Small Town Election, Big World Political Drama
belizeelectionThere are winners and there are losers in politics.  Even the smallest local election can blossom into huge international intrigue with the tools that conspiracy theorists have at their disposal today.  A look, a handshake, or even a wave from across a room can whip the tin foil hat brigade into a frenzy.  They’ll take to their outdated PCs and release the imaginary hounds of Hell on anyone they feel they need to blame for their shortcomings. If they didn’t win their election, it’s someone else's fault. If they didn’t get the toy in their Happy Meal, it’s a government conspiracy. If their phone gets turned off, it’s not because they didn’t pay the bill for the line linking them from their mother’s basement to the outside world, it’s because somebody did something somewhere that they had no control over; it’s the Bilderbergers! It’s the New World Order! It’s "The Man" trying to shut them down! It’s amazing how none of this is ever their own fault.  It's almost as if they have no personal responsibility.  They're just pawns in the game of life. If you’ve never heard of the Cayo South Constituency Area, and you don’t know what a Standard Bearer is, and you’ve never heard of Ralph Huang, then there’s probably a good chance that you’ve never been to Belize - specifically, the Cayo South Constituency Area of Belize. But the conspiracy theorists have.  Or at least they've googled the word "belize" once.  They’ve twisted their little tin foil hats on good and tight, and the intergalactic radio waves they’re receiving tells them that there’s a deep, dark connection between Las Vegas-based Lord Neil B. Gibson - businessman, developer, and international finance figure - and Belizean businessman Ralph Huang.  And that - somehow, and for an unknown nefarious reason - there's now a shadow government now pulling strings in a country that's 8,800 square miles, with a total population of less than 340,000. These conspiracy theorists have launched a smear campaign (consisting mostly of poor grammar and bad spelling - no facts, naturally) to “prove” that there’s some kind of evil corruption game afoot, and that the future of the Belizean government and the people themselves is in peril because someone was elected as Standard Bearer.  For Cayo South Constituency Area.  In Belize. What have all of these amateurish Facebook posts, blogs, tweets, and accusations proven?  That there are many poorly educated people with internet access.  That people are unafraid to anonymously trot out their ignorance and show it off to the world.  That people are more willing to complain and spew sour grape rhetoric than are willing to try to make the world a better place.  If you can't win then smear the guy who did! That'll learn 'em! At the end of the day, though, Ralph Huang won an election.  Not because Lord Neil B. Gibson contributed to his campaign and supported him as a candidate, but because Ralph Huang ran a better campaign.  He reached more people with a message they wanted to hear, and he presented himself to them as the candidate they wanted to elect as Standard Bearer.  He won fairly, and he won squarely.  And now Ralph Huang - who stood up to be counted, and didn’t hide behind a computer screen complaining bitterly and anonymously - gets to stand by his words, and make his little corner of the world into a better place.  Like he promised that he would. Good luck, Mr. Huang; the world is, apparently, watching!