Regardless of the source, what can be said about political manifestoes in this country, other than that they have a lovely ring about them, and which by now should appeal and stir creatures from outer space only. Guyanese have seen them before, heard them before, and absorbed them and lived with them all before with the same disastrous results: nothing doing, nothing different, nothing new, other than for the new deceptions, the new games played with a gullible and jaded and largely captive populace.
For manifestoes are the brainchild and handiwork of men, and if those men intend for them to be nothing more than the lifeless, useless mannequins in store windows, then they might as well be flushed down the toilet right now, even though it is a waste of precious energy and water. For a look at the history of Guyanese political society has been of one book of falsehoods after another, intended to intrigue, designed to mislead, and which have ended up doing just so.
Why should this one or any other be any different? Other than for the choice of words (careful and caressing, to be sure), the solemn moments interspersed with excitement (a grand political acting exhibition, as always), and the skilled toying with passions (cleverly couched and craftily channeled, as local tradition demands, expects, and is given), what do these exercises in hypocrisy actually represent, besides the emptiness of words made meaningless by the men who manufacture them and then meander forward to insult us with them?
To be sure, they evidence the appealing and the ringing, and the other ingredients that should be found touching, by all but the stoniest, most cynical of hearts. The soothing words are there, the alluring flow of comforting phrases cascade upon the national consciousness, and body language speak at once of servants and supplicants, of the heartfelt and the honourable. But are they, any of them? But have any of them, any of them, ever been anything other than the usual parade of confidence men (and women) coming with their offered beauties, their irresistible gifts, their surefire success planks to do one obscene thing and one only. That is, to cheat and separate the trusting Guyanese voter from his vote, his present, and his destiny?
Thus, when the time comes around, as it does around now, for these parchments of perversity, these writs of waiting woes, to be put on display, what this society is handed, once again, is nothing more and nothing less than the usual well-thought out, well-engineered exercises in the best of the newest political propaganda compositions and the calculated performances that go along with them. Look at some of the elements, such as transparency and accountability, and nobody could or should take any issue with what is laudable. But when has any of those two, and all the rest recommitted to today and tomorrow, have had any significance, gained any traction, and propelled this country forward? When and at whose hands and in what ways have those been experienced, and which stand the tests of commonsense, delivery, and reality?
The answer to that last question-all of them in fact-is neatly furnished by a local private sector body that went public to call for ethics in the upcoming elections. Nobody in their right minds, who call themselves caring and committed and conscientious patriots, should have a problem with such a commendable position and call. But ethics in elections, ethics in life, and ethics in anything unequivocally and unambiguously calls for ethical men. Meaning political men and women of high caliber, citizens venturing forth and offering themselves as servants of the people, and those who actually can be so and do so are those who come with honest objectives, unselfish priorities, and the noblest of visions to lift contemporaries and environment to another place.
Look again at our past, present, and politics, and it must be admitted that this smallest of countries has been cursed with the largest of ownership shares in all that is slanderous and monstrous. Because of all of these most sordid of contexts, transparency and accountability is nothing more than the usual hot air, the unending, routine stream of bull.
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