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Political immaturity in TnT
Posted: Saturday, September 18, 2004

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
September 18, 2004

Now that the national move is towards "Vision 20/20" (whatever that means), it is apropos to reflect on the status of political immaturity that exists in TnT with regard to political party alignment, affiliation and parliamentary cross-overs.

The fact of the matter is that far too long, party politics has been perceived to be drawn down along racial lines whether from the POPPG, DLP, UNC , PNM or NAR.

On one hand, TnT is not only proud to be a polyglot, multi-cultural-religious-racial -ethnic society but also boasts that this diversity lends fulcrum to the reality that TnT is the only country in the world where "every creed and race finds an equal place" in a sense of collective national unity.

On the other hand, however, when it comes to party politics, then all of a sudden, this multiness lends fulcrum to the reality of divisiveness, "increasing fragmentation of the society and polarization", public castigation, character assassination, accusations of betrayal and political death, inter alia.

The fact of the matter is that in the United States, no member of Congress is subjected to all of the above if he/she crosses the floor as a Democrat and sides/votes with the Republicans.

In fact, during the recent impeachment hearings against then President Bill Clinton,a Democrat, there were Democrats who voted to impeach their fellow Democrat President and there were Republicans who voted not to impeach President Clinton.

None of these individuals was castigated or maligned in the news media as a Democrat or Republican "Judas" nor was any of them harassed, booed or tarred and feathered in any public appearances.

In addition, there are African-Americans who belong to the Democratic Party and there are others who also belong to the Republican Party. Indeed, African-Americans addressed both the Democratic and Republican party conventions in 2004.

What's the big deal?

The ideology of these two political parties is totally different but more importantly, the American public is mature enough not to victimize any person for belonging to either party.

That's their democratic right and if public policy decision warrants that any of them should reject his/her party's position and vote with the "opposition" (as in crossing the floor TnT style), then so be it.

Such a public official would have made a principled decision to cast his/her pro or con the respective party line.

What's the big deal? Time to grow up politically in TnT.

Moreover, there are Democratic African-Americans who would criticize African-Americans who belong to the Republican Party but such mature criticism does not sink to the immature level and public disdain, ridicule, piccong,etc, that obtain in TnT.

Indeed, it is customary and expected for American politicians to walk out of one party and join another or even become an Independent.

When this happens, the American public is mature enough not to vilify or victimize such a person for doing so.

What's the big deal? Time to grow up politically in TnT.

Such political maturity does not exist in TnT and until it does then any so-called "vision" will just be a colossal, ready-made illusion.

The fact of the matter is that even if the "gang of four" "walked out of the UNC" in 2001 and eventually plunged that party back into the opposition pit, those individuals took a principled position against the UNC's stance.

The fact of the matter is that one compromises on public policy formulation and governance but one never compromises on principle . It was at this crucial juncture in the country's history that political immaturity, unprincipledness, small mindedness, divisiveness and dysfunctionalism reared their ugly head.

The same incident occurred when a social commentator (calypsonian) also took such a principled (but unpopular) political position. All of the above ugly heads and victimization reared, 24-7-365.

Every individual has the democratic right to belong to any political party in TnT and no person should become the unwilling victim of TnT's poltical immaturity.

Principled political decisions must supersede ethnicity if TnT is to rise to the next level of respectable political maturity.

As the country celebrates forty-two years of political independence, everyone must recognize that TnT needs a new genre of public policy and governance based upon principle, integrity, trust, public responsibility, and honesty.

The bottom-line is that TnT needs public officials who refuse to be politicians; as of this writing, TnT is replete with politicians who refuse to be public officials.

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