“Making democracy work during this crisis requires everyone to compromise”was an opinion from the New York Post editorial board dated March 18. Compromise is needed in marriage, friendships, and life to make those work well. Yet that same compromise is the dirtiest word in Guyana when national politics is involved.
“One result of the coronavirus pandemic is a healthy dose of bipartisanship” was what was expressed in a separate opinion from Michael Goodwin (New York Post on March 18). Try presenting bipartisanship to most Guyanese, be they political leaders or impatient loyalists and spittle and a kick follow.
For here we may have a possibly grave crisis and there is indifference in many quarters, and even contempt from people in those same places. For the needed urgencies before us, we have suspended governance or, at best, limited government. Still, we have lost any inclination to reason, that we need each other now to stand in an unbreakable line before a lethal scourge and overcome it. Instead of seizing the crisis to prioritize working together, there is unflagging belief that one could succeed alone.
What we speak of is not of elections. Yet in the tangled mess that is Guyana, it also has everything to do with elections and where that has brought us. We do not talk to each other, unless it’s in the presence of outside referees. We do not hear each other, at any level, in this society, only the threnodies of our ceaseless screaming that drowns all else out, but our own voices and our own messages
We have to be the most unhearing and unlearning people around. We like being so, and when we wallow in our appalling ignorance, we are proud to keeping erecting layer after layer upon the shoddy foundations that now stand as testimonies to Guyanese stupidities. Instead of joining to face down with strength this national threat, we face each other with rancidness in our hearts. Which society so lacking in self-protective wisdom could conquer its challenges? We are the laughing stock of the world-leaders and citizens-and we are so shameless that we join with the foreigners in laughing at ourselves.
Because of all these reasons and many left unpresented, we can say with some confidence that “compromise” that may lead to “bipartisanship” died an unnatural death a long time ago. There is neither thinking of any of that, or working towards that, for the common wellbeing of all, or at least most, in the population. Even in the overheated United States now deeply, perhaps irreversibly, polarized, the houses of Congress and the president were able in record time to put together a relief package for those reeling from the virus. Here it is the norm of hostility and hate. Compromise and bipartisanship have both been beaten into a state of senselessness and sent packing in hurried withdrawal. There is no room for either, no scope, no time, no stirring, or leaning for either. It is out the top floor window for those, and into the furnace for us.
So, we sizzle and like overburnt flesh, we smell pungently. A handful of thinking and conscientious Guyanese hold their noses, the rest of the outside world is way ahead of us in putting as much distance between themselves and us. Caricom’s specially handpicked tribunes who came with goodwill and in good faith had to beat a hasty retreat, while the international people shrink away.
It is why we are left where we are: with our caprices and artifices. All present here are guilty, and all who feed the frenzies have reserved for themselves the blistering label of cardinal malefactors. We need most urgently as in right now, those vital compromises and bipartisanship to assist us to manage ourselves in some way to some place. What is being fought bitterly over will not get us to that different place that offers some hope that is national in vision and scale.
We had better find our senses quickly. For even if we manage to scrape past the coronavirus menace, there are still the sicknesses that come from living next to one another. Compromise and bipartisanship, as treasonous as that sounds, must be our religion to carry forward.
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