There was this opinion piece in the New York Times on August 25th, which is where things and people are in Guyana, as seen by Guyanese citizens. It was titled, “The shallow cynicism of ‘Everything is rigged’”. If that is so, then we are in deep trouble.
As excerpted from the New York Times, there is the “go-to argument that everything is corrupt…” No one here is given the benefit of the doubt.
“It is an escape from the responsibility to defend one’s position on its merits.” In the local environment, there is this culture of withdrawal before the unchanging face of truth. It is neither acknowledged nor appreciated. Things must be of this shabby, known way of life so pervasive in Guyana. The Guyanese fallback option is: How else to explain or justify? Thus, there is the “cheap cynicism that falsely regards outcomes with which one disagrees as the product of corruption…” Just does not make sense, given the prevailing norms.
Veteran entertainer Tom Hanks noted that “cynicism has become our default.” Hanks emphasized: “there’s a place for cynicism, but why begin with it right off the bat?” If that is accurate, then this could mean that everyone is engaged in perpetuating a universal system of corruption. Even the few not involved. The simple fact of being in proximity to corrupt people, corrupt practices, and a widespread culture of corruption converts even the uninvolved and unattached innocent to the stigma of being incorrigibly corrupt.
Admittedly in Guyana, one must search hard to find a clean, authentic presence. This includes politics (top of the vulgar pile); public and private business (integral to the polluting action); law enforcement spanning those in uniform or as dispensers of justice (self-serving brokers). Guyana has become a dismal place where chronic cynicism triumphs, as the following real-life examples testify.
If a Guyanese man or woman is on the up and up and doesn’t ask for or accept a gift, something is not right with them. That is not good enough. The fact that there was outright rejection only makes matters worse. The speculations are that they are under scrutiny; or are playing a game. A game that involves trusted people only; or for the big pickings. In other words, a secret life is being led.
Amid this prevailing atmosphere, the few honest and principled are stranded in a bad place, a desolate one. The mere association, through earning a living, or volunteering for serving, or consenting to contributing runs the high risk of being lumped, inseparably so, with the hard mass of dirtiness and sleaze; and, of course, the riches that are so much a part of the locale.
It is why some who stand out for being different have made up their minds: leave. Going back from where they came. Resuming successful undertakings to live healthier, wholesome lives. Self-preservation, with reputation intact, takes precedence. Guyana loses. The foul succeeds in removing one more human barrier that stood in resistance. Indeed, the perceived rigged nature of things Guyanese flourish still more. Soon elections come; get ready for the cynicism of rigging.
Elections register readily with jaded Guyanese. In this ruptured, poisoned habitat, where racial animosities reign tyrannically, cover everything, nothing can be clean; all must be tainted; and especially when emerging results go against calculations. This is the accepted and satisfying virtue where all declare undetachable allegiance to the racial bandwagon. Developments and results just can’t be real. Not with the history of Guyana. Not with what is going on now. Just must be like that; and never more so than today.
Thankfully, there are still a few Guyanese, who are principled enough to be unmoved by the tide of ignorance and negativity that inundates every county; every community; and circles of the learned and low. These few take pride in being different not for the appearance, but through challenging themselves to live the honourable.
This is what this country needs so much more of on every tier; elections date or not. This is what is desperately called for to reverse the unending cycles of cynicism that gather more adherents by the turn. Live the talk. Walk the challenge. It is not an encouraging battle.
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