provided such an opportunity, Baptiste-Cornelis should now go on to pen her political memoir of realpolitik T&T style. Our politics needs to be informed by more than zeppo and grapevine; we need her tobreak the pact of secrecy that binds the cohorts of power. So Madame, please tell us more!It is good, too, that in her casual innocence, Baptiste-Cornelis has pushed us to the point of pain. If wecould hold on to the hurt and trace it back to its origin, we might find that it leads to a deep,unexpressed love for this place. And because love brings compulsions of its own—often dangerousones—we have preferred to bury it under a flippant cynicism, afraid that it might ask more of us thanwe feel able to give. But what if we did allow ourselves to become articulate about our love for thisplace? And what if we found that, having done so, we could release the energy for its demands onus?Can we not sense that with every fall down the spiral of possibility, what Trinidad and Tobago is reallyasking from us is a declaration of love of an order higher than that which we proclaim?Now that the undiplomatic diplomat has helped us to know better, are we still willing to be countedamong the cheering masses, mere grist for the political mill?Will we still pour praise and stain ourfingers for now-for-now politicians who got on the ticket because the leader called them to service onemad night? Will we still refuse to scrutinise credentials for cabinet duty and fitness to act on ourbehalf? Will we demand no guarantees about expertise in dispensing our resources representing us tothe world?This is the culture of collective unresponsibility that has given rise to the political phenomenon ofwhich Baptiste-Cornelis is only an extreme example. She is no aberration; just a logical outcome.Yes, she scares us, but only because she presents the awfulness of a truth we would wish to deny inour pretence to be a sophisticated electorate in a fully functional democracy, led by real leaders,capable of change and of taking the world by storm.The truth is that we are a people easily fooled, not because we're not smart, but because of ourcapacity for self-delusion as a means of escape from the effort required to act on our own behalf.It is the hallmark of our disempowerment that we are willing to accept that our world is completelybeyond our control, rather than exert ourselves to let change in. So much better that we start fromearly to line up the bobolees to beat when things go wrong. As they surely will.First we invite them to 'fool me nah!'; then we complain 'they fool we!'What does it say about the representational aspect of our politics that it repeatedly throws up leaderswho know so little about the country and its people? If we think better of ourselves, how then do weexplain the crop of leaders we repeatedly end up with as representatives of us?What does it say about us that having exercised our right to vote, we must stand bypowerless,watching government after government become a train wreck?In our impotence, we resort to the standard weapons of the disempowered: character assassinationand personal humiliation. We boo, we spread rake, unable to access institutional tools for initiatingchange.Based on the current explosive levels of impotent outrage, the forecast now can only be for plentymore booing. If not worse.Still, all is not lost.In our defence, we should admit that, relatively speaking, we are new to the exercise ofself-responsibility for which political independence is merely one conducive condition.We can also admit that our history of material dispossession makes us prime targets for bribery and,therefore, for early compromise and quick surrender.
Painful but precious in its truth | Trinidad Express New...http://www.trinidadexpress.com/commentaries/Painful...2 of 405/08/2012 12:26 PM