Political decisions impact upon the choices that almost all citizens must make in their daily lives; many minor, seemingly trivial, but the cumulative effect may be enormous. The writer makes the generalization that people like stable lives and would therefore prefer not to be labeled, “troublemakers”. The political establishment is keenly aware of this and “milks” it for all it’s worth. Hardliners in particular, unable to justify their positions, go for the jugular with the “guilt trip.” People who express opinions contrary to party dictum are the troublemakers, “social outcasts.”
To question and oppose leaders, who pontificate, is a crime of high treason – where is your patriotism? The appeal to patriotism, the panacea, softens your stance; love for country cannot be compromised, and the “guilt trip” scores yet another victory. Intuitively, you know you have caved in. Justifying your retreat you rationalize: I am not getting involved in politics, it’s not my business, and one person cannot change the system; my family is not affected, let others fight their own battle. The sophistry is amazing.
Legal and constitutional violations are often overlooked when injustice is rained upon “social outcasts.” They are seen as menaces — obstacles to progress — that have no real purpose in life; they should have no rights. They make life uncomfortable; they ask too many questions. The “insignificant” little violations over time desensitize the citizenry to breaches in the rule of law — many go unnoticed.
If the undeniable truth be told, when the rights of outcasts are infringed, the rights of all Grenadians are violated – trampled upon!
An unfortunate consequence of a lopsided political mandate is the tendency to restrict the rights of citizens: subvert constitutional restraints placed on those whom the people entrust the seat of power; usurp the authority of the judiciary and coerce the legislature into making laws that contravene the constitution. Pains must therefore be taken to assure that this does not lead to purging independent thought — the standardization of ideas (all marching to the same ideological band) by legislators, courts, or dominant political or community groups.
Enshrined in the sacred institution of democracy is the fundamental tenet — protecting the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority – the lone voice in the multitude shall be given due reverence.
Checks and balances in place work, but only when citizens, the purveyors of power, remain proactive, signaling disapproval of a leader’s despicable conduct and showing positive intent, if necessary, to remove her/him from office.
Corruption, inflation, oppressive taxation, inept leadership capable of sound intellectual policy in domestic and foreign affairs, and injustice are the “conspirators” that lead to the fall of Governments.
This writer thinks that Grenadians are faced with a conundrum. Firstly, they feel threatened by the upper echelons of political power and seem afraid to speak out – freedom of speech has a preferred position among constitutional safeguards; secondly, the daunting label, troublemaker, is too burdensome to carry. So they sit subdued and patient while those in the seat of government bask in political iniquity.
Comfortable in their protective cocoons and contemptuous of the hapless “social outcasts,” Grenadians who have gained the respect of the wider community and have been endowed with the ability to significantly change the course of repugnant political conduct are, all too frequently, reluctant to get involved.
The negativism is inexplicable; many successful and influential members of Grenadian society rose from the ranks of those whose rights lie in limbo awaiting the heavenly train.
Time to call in St Peter?
Grenadians are proud to be an independent nation and would stalwartly defend their country with the last drop of blood – that’s the writer’s impression. However, why they surrender that independence in matters political is mystifying. It seems a contradiction to be so fiercely independent on the one hand and totally surrender to the dictates of political demagogues on the other.
Are we content to turn away pretending that we are powerless to make changes? The tide has changed championed by our often maligned “YOUTH” who had the guts to be selfless activists, driving political debate on decisions that impact the lives of all Grenadians.
They ran to and not from the ballot box — they get involved, let’s learn from them!