I observe campaign America and political Guyana, and I ask: what’s the hubbub? By that I mean the one that swirls about youth and age and the aged, as in the considerable presence of the disparaged latter, the so-called over the hill gang here. It is worth some looking to understand what prevails not only here, but elsewhere.
America on the 2020 campaign trail furnishes an illuminating reality on this age divide; it puts to bed this ancient hostility and uncontained impatience of firstborns straining to displace their teachers and fathers. They have hardly spent time at the feet to gather the barest rudiments; yet like the youthful Icarus, they test wing and tempt the gods, and end up plummeting to ground in self-inflicted ignominy.
In a land of300 million citizens, with think tanks and intellectuals galore, an intelligentsia of majestic Mensa magnificence, of unlimited resources, and ascendant academia, there is only the tried and self-marketed true, rising to the top and leading the pack. The younger others are forced to follow. The Democratic hopefuls in the front running spots are of a certain unmistakable vintage: Biden, Bloomberg, and Sanders, are all over the biblical three score and ten years. And the incumbent challenged is himself in that same age bracket. That is dismissed in this country as un-sprightly, unsound of mind, and unsafe for leading and trusting. Of anything.
It is similarly enlightening (should be to youthful Guyanese in a hurry) that those who fell by the wayside are almost all below 60 years of age, with some still in their 40s. In the crucible of test, they lacked what it took, and were compelled to concede and bide their time for later when older, wiser, brighter. It takes time, with lots to learn, life can be very nuanced.
I must be clear: overwhelmingly, the politically older have failed us, and miserably and unendingly. The opposition experimented with youth two decades ago and it is a nightmare; a Frankenstein created who, in turn, has spawned younger ones with his political genetics. The government itself had to send some upstarts packing to far corners, where they could meditate and meet with their limitations. The only people to whom such are not obvious would be themselves. So, the practice has been: chill out, cool down, and come back when the hasty recklessness of youth are unlearned and the maturity and sagacity that comes from careful aging takes firm, dominant hold.
Those younger ones who twist feverishly should check in the mirror: they must know what they do not know, which is everything. They must humble themselves to admit publicly that they know nothing of the biggest thing to hit Guyanese existence, which is its oil splendor. I can tell you that the youthful hot blooded would be chewed up and spat out before breakfast, then carted away by the trash haulers before the opening bell. They may fancy themselves political cocks of the walk, but the book instruction from UG or farther is not the real world.
In the real cruel world, governments have been overthrown and replacement men installed to perpetuate special interests. In the real world of hard corporate visions, men (sturdy patriots included) are bought and sold for a dime a dozen before sunrise. In the real world, the young are drooled over, for they come full of themselves and their overpowering strength; they are enticed through their hubris, which reveals much. That they have no answers, since they possess next to nothing by way of comprehension. Of what is involved; of the subtleties to be interpreted and dealt with gingerly; of the many compromises and collaborations to be employed to progress a single inch to make things work.
There is the seasoning of age; youth serves as cannon fodder. Their hearts are in the right place, but their minds are still unschooled and unkempt, and unappreciative of the vast responsibilities, the grand statecrafts, the uncompromising ethics that are demanded. These they miniaturize to the frivolous, frequently, the churlish. Ask our loud and proud parade of the young to identify the defining priorities of their life and the defining issues of this nation and they falter and wither. Sure, the tom-toms of intentions sound; but they lack persuasive thunder. There is the smoke that spirals from the murky mirrors of social media and the surly mob that surrounds that scorched earth. There is little else; such is the substance of those without depth, without staying power, without the refining heat of years.
They should learn from the extremely fine sands of the gods; they take time to get that way. Yes, our ruffled and agitated youth must allow for the greyness that comes with the wisdom of years, even though Lord Byron might have disagreed.
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