It was the old Greek, Zeno, who pointed out that “you can’t put your foot twice into the same river”. Your foot might be the same, but the river certainly won’t – as the water inexorably flowed on! But in more modern times, it was claimed, “the more things change, the more they remain the same.” So which bit of folk wisdom are we to believe when it’s claimed “our politics are a changin’”?
So, what’s our politics exactly? Back in the eighties, some wag had scrawled the word “politricks” on a wall in Georgetown to answer that question!! Politics in Guyana just meant playing tricks on the people. Of course, that’s when Burnham had imposed his dictatorship over the country – and cynically played games with the FORMS of democracy. Can you imagine running a referendum in 1978 to declare there’d be no need for a referendum AFTER he changed the entire Constitution in 1980?? That’s right…he wanted a blank cheque to declare his dictatorship legit!! And then, even more surreal, he rigged the referendum to claim 90% approval – when foreign observers demonstrated only a 14% turnout!!
Now that reputation of “politricks” has unfortunately stuck with us to this day. We saw it on display in the 2020 elections, and again when the Mace was stolen by the PNC, who are now using that to claim the NRF Act is illegal!! So, dear reader, when your Eyewitness hears about “politics changing”, he takes it with a handful of salt. And that makes him gag!!
So, what’s the source of this purported “change”? We hear about “youths”! They’re iconoclastic and won’t put up with the shibboleths of the past! But isn’t this what we’ve been hearing for the last half-a-century?? Everyone predicted that after Burnham’s excesses – which decimated his own base – the free and fair elections of 1992 would see the PNC wiped out. If not by the PPP, certainly by the WPA, which was much more grounded in their constituency. But what happened?? A massacre of the WPA, that’s what!! The PNC got the identical 42% they’d received in 1964, when the country had been most polarised by the racial riots!!
So, what’s different about our politics today?? One clue would be to examine whether “youths” behaved any differently during the last elections “politricks”. As far as your Eyewitness could see, it was the same ole, same ole!! Now, maybe with all this oil money flowing in and projects flowing out, that’s sure to lift a lotta boats – including youths of all persuasions – maybe we’ll see that long-heralded change?? Your Eyewitness won’t he holding his breath – and it’s not because he’s asthmatic or anything.
Call him jaded!!
…in the US?
Well…well…well! The US Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on Thursday in a historic vote. This paves the way for her to become the first Black woman to serve on the highest court in the nation. With the Senate split into 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats and 2 Independents, it took 3 Republicans to “cross the floor” to pull it off 53-47!! That speaks to the qualification of Jackson more than softening readers’ relations!! Jackson will now have to wait to be sworn in after Justice Breyer steps down later this summer.
So, the question is: what exactly will change? Well, there’s the aforementioned colour bar breaching. And now there will be four women Supremes. And a liberal disposition. But the Court will remain conservative. So, like with Obama after he won the presidency in 2008, the effect will be more symbolic than anything.
Sadly, many Blacks will once again have their hopes raised, only to see them dashed by the system.
Another day, another censure. This time, Russia has been suspended from the UN Human Rights Council. Won’t change anything on the Ukraine War.
But maybe Russia will suffer death from a thousand censures?