Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pulling it together? - The Peter O'Connor commentary

There is a realization dawning upon us that we can place no hope for our country’s future in any of the political permutations we have, or can imagine. And further, we are beginning to accept that we cannot blame the politicians for this situation, but must accept that it is we who are responsible. 

But we had been here before. We all know, or should have known, that it is our responsibility to begin to wring the changes we need in order to advance as a society.

Our problem has been, and indeed continues in this mode, that we are not committed to take the steps which we need to take. We continue to wish, to hope and to dream, that someone is going to walk the walk we talk. But at least, once again, we are beginning the talk, developing a thought process to seek our way.

We are back where we were in the period shortly after the 2007 general election. At that point in time we were beginning to see the then-defeated Congress of the People as a hope for the future.

To their credit, COP continued to build itself and led many of us to believe that they might become the option which we needed. But even as they wooed and impressed us, they had no credentials of performance, or tests of their leadership qualities, by which they could be judged. 

They held out to us that they were the option, the true alternate choice we so badly wanted and needed. But Manning’s sudden, irrational call for a mid-term election in 2010 put an end to the “building” of COP. The imperative suddenly changed to ensure the PNM’s loss at the polls, and the Peoples’ Partnership was hastily pulled together, without an agenda, without a philosophy and without a compass. 

And while it is true that neither the PNM nor the UNC had agenda, philosophy or compass, they at least had a “maximum leader”-- well the UNC had until the sudden collapse of Panday and the rise of Kamla. 

But as much or more for the desire to oust the PNM rather than embrace the Peoples’ Partnership, the COP suddenly found itself in government, as the “second senior” partner in a partnership where no one had the leadership capabilities to govern the country. 

In the cacophony and confusion which has followed since, the COP and its members have shown us no reason to believe that they could have grown into a capable government for 2012. The best which we can take out of this is the realization that at least we did not have to test them, and fail them, in governance on their own.

And this brings us back to the present, where once again some of us are emerging from the clamour, cursing, bitter condemnation and spiteful attacks and looking for solutions to the mess in which we have created for ourselves. And as desperation turns to serious thought, we need to ask less of “Who shall lead us?”, and more of where do we need to go? 

The capstone cannot be placed on top of the pyramid until the foundations have been laid, and the main structure built. And we are only at the stage where we are thinking about the foundation we need, so let us not waste time seeking leaders to crown the work we have not yet begun.

So the real question is how do we direct the dawning realization of our responsibility in all this to the sectors which can, if they want, begin to bring our realizations into fruition? Will the business community continue to pour millions of dollars into electoral support for political parties they hate, and whom they are aware are corrupt and incompetent? But say what? Each business sees its political financial support as investment in its own five year plan. The nation must wait while business as usual continues.

And will the labour movement begin to realize that their role—newly self- acquired incidentally—is not to “bring down the government” to facilitate a return of the PNM, the same PNM which declared in a time of plenty that wage increases were inflationary, but to help create a just society where governments genuinely serve the needs of the people?

Until the “sectorial” leaders of our society begin to listen to the voices of those of us who understand that salvation will not come from above, via “leaders” and their political parties, we will remained condemned to stay just where we are. If we can enlighten them—those with the wherewithal to support the changes—then we might begin to build the society we need, but do not yet deserve.

But this requires taking the long road, not the “short drops” we love.

No comments:

Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai