What does personal modesty have to do with political rightness?

Dear Editor,

 

Leon Suseran’s ‘A presidency of change’ (May 28, 2015) is exactly the kind of gushing, fevered elation, misplaced euphoria, form over substance analysis that has left this country with a frightening history of failed politics, failed politicians and a failure by the citizenry to make proper political choices for the nation’s sake. I am not moved by tactical symbolism; after all, David Granger is a military tactician, a trained strategist, and a chess player. His forte is toying with the easily toyed. David Arthur Granger could be the momentous change the country needs, but so far, I have not seen it. To date, I have seen breaches of the Cummingsburg Accord, impending constitutional reform being muddled and stalled, local government elections stymied, a grave lack of explanation for important executive actions, a militarization of the presidency and a generalized orientation to authoritarianism.

What does President Granger’s personal modesty have to do with political rightness? Have we not seen this analogy and misplaced interpretation before in Cheddi and Janet Jagan, modest and personally non-corrupt but politically corrupt? Have we not seen Janet Jagan fall for Jagdeo’s shyness (now proven to be pretentious) and Moscow credentials only to be fooled when the man’s serpentine qualities emerged once he got power? Have we not foolishly equated academic brilliance and eloquence in Forbes Burnham with political decency? When are we going to stop this incomplete analysis and be true to the truth? Men with decency, integrity and a true spirit of nationalism, patriotism and service to the nation know to check their megalomania for the sake of country. Let us stop this ludicrous nonsense of correlating what we falsely believe is personal decency with political integrity. A despot is a despot, no matter how modest, simple and decent his private life is.

This country has not produced a true patriot except for those who resisted slavery and indentureship, without ideology or political affiliation. Walter Rodney comes close but even Rodney was steeped in ideology. Even for those who claim they had no choice for the sake of career advancement or self-preservation in the midst of dictatorship, there is a distinction between those who barely toed the line to survive and those who went over the line and participated in redrawing the line.

More importantly, how do these leaders behave when presented with a clean slate and a new opportunity? That is the big question because it tells us who these individuals really are at their core, regardless of their church-going, God-praising, alms-giving, charity-advocating, modest-living, goodness-claiming ways. New slates provide the true fork in the road. Do they venture, for the sake of country, nation, society and people, into the realm of democracy, freedom, justice, transparency and equity, or do they plunge into the labyrinth of authoritarianism and domination?

Let not the sicknesses of the PPP and the mere fact that they have been replaced cause us to throw caution to the wind and drop our vigilance. Wolves do come in sheep clothing. It is the gushing sheep in sheep clothing who cannot see the wolves that worries me the most about the democratic future of this country. We did not get to this point after 23 years to turn back. In parting, when Clement Rohee can legitimately highlight your democratic indecencies after 33 days in power, it is high time to take a salt bath and have a serious look in the mirror.

Yours faithfully,
M Maxwell

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