The Urban dictionary defines dissing as ‘utterances of a (dis)respectful nature’ and goes on to add ‘not doing right thing… not showing common decency’ and ‘not creating balance in our world’.
Twice this week, we were forced to witness our leaders dissing us and contributing to keeping our world off-kilter. What have we done to deserve them?
The first one came from our newly minted Youth Minister, our local Ben Shapiro of whom it was said: ‘whenever he is trending on Twitter, it means another cringe-inducing moment has gone viral’. Posting on Facebook, Minister Fitzgerald Hinds related how he walked away from an encounter with a young man who asked for money to purchase food: an encounter that supposedly energised him to do his new job.
This was a staggering self-disclosure. Hinds is the line minister for the Anthony Watkins-led Community Recovery Committee, of which Dr Keith Rowley has high hopes for actionable plans to help the at-risk communities.
The post confirms the suffocating arrogance that this son of a former dockworker possesses and shows how one, having ascended, can mindlessly kick down the proverbial ladder of social mobility.
The post demonstrates a complete, continuous lack of political astuteness: his constituency is disinterested in the polls with the second lowest turnout for the 2020 elections, he remains none the wiser after the run-in with opposing constituency members and the struggles of his fellow MPs for Tunapuna and La Horquetta went over his head.
All the youths in the at-risk communities now know clearly that he is one ‘soldier’ that cannot be depended upon. Minister Hinds clearly is unafraid of Martin Luther King Jr’s foreboding assessment: ‘riots are the language of the unheard’.
Snatching the spotlight from this horrible display was our Opposition Leader, who is determined to not bring out the best in us. At election times, the manifestoes are supposed to excite us with dreams for the future; but sadly it appears that, for her, it was another box to be ticked.
Her actions post-elections have not helped us to dream larger dreams. And now she caps the week with a slate of senators not widely known as thoughtful visionary people.
Her Senatorial appointments are designed to feed the trolls on Facebook and represent a cynical effort to be the ‘baddest bad’. In the face of the strident cries by dissidents within the party, she has pulled one from their playbook as a means of survival.
Mr Suruj Rambachan, in advocating the UNC’s case for being a national party, said: ‘The UNC works so hard to ensure diversity […] sometimes to the point of raising the ire of its membership to have people from all ethnicities’.
He continued by citing the appointment of the last president: “[…] There would be [the] perception that the leadership positions in the country reflect its diversity… That is the extent to which sacrifices are made in the UNC to ensure that there is diversity in high offices and that the people are represented in the governance of this country, from every sector.”
The selection of certain Senators fit the criteria for leadership set out by Mr Rambachan, when he inadvertently told us: “When you roar in the Parliament, the People’s National Movement (PNM) get very ruffled in their seats… the kind of person you require in Parliament when you have to face those members of the PNM, especially those who have caustic mouths like [Fitzgerald] Hinds.”
The job of the new Senators is to demonstrate this ability to roar. Her choices are a slap in the faces of the proverbial ‘swing voters’—but this is not the immediate concern. To be perceived as being ‘bad’, the bile from dark corners is transferred into what should be a place of sober reflection and reason.
We, the nation, are not the object of desire. We are cockroaches in fowl business.
Social media throbs: the base must never see any compromise. Pressure is put on both political leaders and all would-be leaders to show no mercy even if it kills us, the citizens.
Some seek to normalise bitterness. We can no longer disagree without being disagreeable but must attack the other side, questioning their decency and sincerity.
Rather than have an open mind to examine the situations, we begin with our entrenched view and seek to find supporting evidence of which the Internet is laden. We will live in different worlds and have less understanding of what each other faces and all the while become more distrustful of our institutions.
None of the Senators would be brave enough to seek compromise since they are not put there to do so. Their mantra? ‘The more I hurt you, the better I look.’
No sense of sacrifice and no experience of national pride. ‘Dog eat dog’ mentality reigns. We are all seeking to ‘hang jack’ while the house is burning down. There is apparently no more pressing business than to oppose those who we consider ‘the others’.
We cannot agree on what are facts and we certainly struggle with what should be considered to be moral and fair. Our only clear-cut view is winning political power for me and my tribe.
May The Almighty mercifully remove these plagues from our dwelling.