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Sunday 18 August 2019
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Commentary

The politics of self-hate

PAOLO KERNAHAN
PAOLO KERNAHAN

IT IS A question with no easy answers. Why do so many people prostrate themselves before a political party ahead of their own needs? Under this administration, TT has had a very rough time of it. Entrenched economic stagnation, ongoing job losses, abysmal public service delivery, crumbling infrastructure, rampant crime; and those are just the entrees.

A certain demographic will read these indisputable facts and unfailingly respond this way, “So who it is destroy de econimie, not the UNC?” “It have crime allabout!”

Many of these self-flagellating devotees would rather suffer under a demonstrably incapable and resolutely aloof government than ever countenance a Kamlaragnarok. For them, it doesn’t matter what this government does or fails to do, as long as “we will rise” never rises again. With eyes fixed firmly on the sins of a rejected government, they can’t see the ongoing failures of the administration right in front of them.

What prevents party loyalists from accepting that they shouldn’t have to suffer under any government, regardless of the racial profile of that administration?

How can some minds perceive what remains obscure to others? That politicians fake the aspiring humble servant role. Once anointed they display a naked contempt for supporters who build shrines in their hearts for them. The examples of this hard-earned disregard are legion.

In consideration of the recent tragedy of the Orange Valley fishermen, the Government’s handling of the affair was appalling. Apart from complaints of no discernible air support for rescue and recovery efforts early on, villagers noted that in the wake of the murders there was no government representative on site. “Swiss Army” Minister Stuart Young confirmed this much.

In a garbled telephone interview with talk show host Fazeer Mohammed, minister in a ministry Fitzgerald Hinds explained that had MP for Couva North Ramona Ramdial had a quiet word with minister Young rather than “make a scandal” on television he (Young) would surely have acceded to any request. Presumably, that request would have been piled in with deferential invitations to various Rotary functions, ribbon cuttings, and functions for sods turning sods.

So mass murder on the high seas wasn’t enough to stir a member of the Government to drop in on the community, but a quiet word would have done the trick? Is it unreasonable to expect that a person no less than the prime minister of the whole nation of TT would have visited the village of Orange Valley to commiserate with families torn apart by this unprecedented act of violence?

Still, the PNM defence league foot soldiers rushed to the Facebook front to deflect accusations of callous indifference: “What you want Rowley to do about crime?” “What would a government minister going to the village accomplish?”

People, it seems, can make the most remarkable contortions, even muting their humanity where necessary.

Lifetime membership to a political lodge comes with one free political prism through which you’re expected to process all your views on any subject. This prism is similar to the one used by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in announcing his non-decision on Chief Justice Ivor Archie. The PM categorised calls to move on concerns of allegations of impropriety in office levelled against Archie as a UNC trap.

PNMites were only too happy to take tea for Dr Rowley’s fever. Even extensive reporting on questionable goings-on surrounding the office of the chief justice was easily reduced to a PNM vs UNC bar fight.

“What exactly has the CJ done to warrant his removal?” “Dem UNC lawyers only on games.” So all members of the Law Association were condemned by Government supporters as UNC operatives in service of the Kabal.

There is a disturbing inability among many people in this country to apply the same scrutiny and righteous outrage across political parties. Forgiveness and a willingness to give the benefit of the doubt seems far easier to manage if the politicians causing offence look more like you than dem.

We continue to be driven primarily by race rather than discernment between right and wrong, even if it puts the nation on a track to irredeemable ruin. Consequently, supporters of this Government aren’t able to grasp that speaking out against your party isn’t the same as speaking in favour of the UNC.

The key to being a good citizen is loving yourself, family and community more than a political party. Find the courage to say instead “Grrrreat is TT!” and hold politicians’ feet to the fire, whoever they may be.

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