By Raffique Shah
November 23, 2020
“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights…whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers…”
Like Samuel Johnson’s proverbial scoundrel who seeks refuge in patriotism, I fall back on the American declaration of independence, especially its “unalienable rights”, and in particular the right, nay, the civic duty it imposes on citizens, to rebel with force to remove a government that is trampling their rights.
These injunctions that emanated from the fertile minds of a phalanx of philosophers, and from some very ordinary thinkers who existed during the Age of Enlightenment, and others who would emerge thereafter, often as lone voices of reason in the cacophony of savages, come to mind when, in today’s complex world, we find ourselves facing a kind of primitiveness we thought had gone extinct with the demise of dinosaurs, but who, sadly, remain alive and breathing fire and brimstone, seemingly bent on reversing the technological wizardry that are the only things we have to present in defence of our epoch, as if to say to those who query our existence, here, look, these are scientific devices that we invented, that are evidence that not only did we walk on Earth, but we reduced it to a much smaller space than it ever was, bequeathing terminology such as virtual conferencing and digital classrooms and offices, our contributions to the rich lexicon we inherited from giants and geniuses who romanced the spoken and written words and works of wonder in languages that enriched a truly multicultural world.
And then, along came Trump, first name Donald, a human being like no other we had encountered in generations, and nothing that you’ll remember except for his dominion of ill-repute, his constant lying that rendered him into a new-age robot, thousands of which had been invented to do chores like switching on and off the numerous electronic devices that have all but taken over the running of our homes, work places, communities, travel, and so on.
What was alarming about this Trump fellow is not what he preached: we had heard it all before, those of us who had lived the biblical three-score-and-ten years as promised by Jah. We had lived through the horror that was Hitler, if only as babies born when that bogey-man was being buried in the bunkers he had built to last the Third Reich a thousand years. That they barely survived ten, and crumbled on him, ending his empire in ruins, hardly deterred his devout disciples who still live in hope of a revival of national socialism, and the return of Hitler.
Post-Hitler, we endured the more insidious types, such as Jim Jones, a pastor who somehow penetrated the minds of thousands of Americans (always the easiest to fool), got some 1,000-plus of them to relocate to the jungles of Guyana, where, to cut a long story short, Jones and his followers drank some very potent poison and ended their miserable lives in pursuit of a promised land of milk and honey that turned out to be Kool-Aid and death.
It is something in that vein I am seeing in this Trump fellow, he and the close to 70 million Americans (them again!) who voted for him, and who may now think nothing of going along like lambs to the slaughter, bleating his oh-so-transparent lies that they are too blind to see for what they are, and in the process turning America into a cauldron of confusion, maybe mass deaths…who knows?
What I worry about is not what happens in the USA, although, given our closely-connected world, that must be a concern. My concern is the “Trumpettes” we have among us, political leaders and their followers, who believe this man is God.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her non wavering-toxic sidekick Roodal Moonilal, have all but identified themselves as Trump devotees. When the US president was promoting Juan Guaido as their man to remove Nickolas Maduro from office in Venezuela, this duo complied, called on the Keith Rowley government to do likewise, and virtually begged Trump to impose sanctions against our government for not complying with the dictates of Washington.
More than a year later, Guaido remains “little boy lost” as I wrote then, and many who embraced him are embarrassed today. There are others in the Caribbean, and elsewhere, who admire Trump for reasons that remain unclear. It may well be they are impressed with his bullying-style of governance and his erratic foreign policies—withdrawing from the WHO and wavering on NATO.
Whatever their reasons, we need to stay alert. Trump will be history in a few weeks. We have an economy to rebuild and a country to resurrect.