Sep 23, 2020 Letters
“Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy and resentment. These just zap energy and waste time,” the words of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first female Jewish member of the U.S. Supreme Court and the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, a pioneering advocate for women’s rights, who in her ninth decade became a much younger generation’s unlikely cultural icon, died last Friday at her home in Washington, on one of the holiest days in Judaism, as many of the country’s nearly six million Jews welcomed the new year 5781, based on the Hebrew calendar. She died due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer at the age of 87 as a hero, an icon, a fighter for women and girls, a leader for humanity and a preceptor for all legal luminaries to follow. Ginsburg was raised in a secular household, but explained in 2018 that her religious background influenced her life’s work: “I am a judge, born, raised and proud of being a Jew. The demand for justice, for peace and for enlightenment runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition. Judges do read the newspapers and are affected, not by the weather of the day, as distinguished constitutional law professor Paul Freund once said, but by the climate of the era. “Then, too, we must try hard to understand that for righteous people, hate and prejudice are neither good occupations nor fit companions.” Former President Bill Clinton (who had appointed her) said that it is “superficially hypocritical” for President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans to push to put a new justice on the Supreme Court before the November election. On a Saturday evening in February 2016, just hours after Justice Antonin Scalia died during a hunting trip, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, interrupted a Caribbean vacation to draw a line in the sand. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice,” he said. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” Will President Donald Trump adhere to this advice or succumb to his cowboy’s action? He already indicated that he will replace Ginsburg with another woman. Ginsburg’s dying wish, dictated to her granddaughter Clara Spera, underscored the battle she knew was coming. “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” she had said. Meghan Markle paid a touching tribute in honour saying, “With an incomparable and indelible legacy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will forever be known as a woman of brilliance, a Justice of courage, and a human of deep conviction. She has been a true inspiration to me since I was a girl. Honour her, remember her, act for her.” Her life and work serve as a mentor for many around the world. Many of the women in Guyana, especially those occupying important positions, can pattern her example and take a page from her book, especially those sitting in parliament, on the bench, brandishing placards, protesting, picketing, displaying public vulgarity and issuing statements.
At the last Democratic Convention, former President Barack Obama delivered a stunning takedown of the man who followed him into the White House. Obama said that Trump simply does not take the job “seriously”. He said that Trump uses the government’s vast powers in a purely “transactional way”. And most powerfully, he said this: “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t, and the consequences of that failure are severe.” Consider what Obama is saying there: As someone who did the job for eight years, he not only believe Trump cannot rise to the demands of the presidency, but also that there are very real effects of Trump’s deficiency. As a retort to an earlier address by Michelle Obama, Trump had said, “Somebody please explain to Michelle Obama that Donald J. Trump would not be here, in the beautiful White House, if it weren’t for the job done by your husband, Barack Obama.” Though his accomplishments are not popular with his critics, Trump for better or worse has been a consequential and divisive president in modern US history so far, but has had a remarkably steady approval rating due to his staunchly loyal supporters. Indeed, President Dr. Irfaan Ali would not be in the presidential house had it not been for Granger doing a lousy job with the gross mismanagement of the economy and country, his lies and deceits and all the numerous skullduggery he and his party had incorporated, causing bankruptcy and the eventuality of election rigging. Yet, it’s disturbing to reflect how easy Granger and Trotman were able to infiltrate the community of Afro Guyanese in Berbice with their racial incitements and violent insinuations, causing chaos and confusion that subsequently produced so many disastrous consequences, including two deaths, personal and psychological injuries and millions of dollars in property damages and losses, all borne by the Indo Guyanese. Why should Guyana allow such perpetrators who are society’s destabilizers to continue their destructive activities to flaunt all the rules and regulations and the keepers of law and order should remain silent?
As Guyanese desperately try to settle into a groove that will dictate an acceptable norm, there is a subliminal thought that pervades in the back of the mind, which tries to anticipate what may be next on the danger menu and from what direction this element may be coming from. The lives of Guyanese are relatively not safe and secured when taking into account the number of deaths, accidents, injuries and personal and property losses, occurring almost daily throughout the length and breadth of Guyana. Factored into this nightmare are the various sources for this fear: topping the list is the COVID-19 pandemic; the dangerous streets and roads; the haunting crime situation from choke and rob, burglary and stealing; domestic violence; murder due to drinking spree, quarrels and arguments and other criminal behaviour and activities; and now to crown this infamous impressive list, we now need to add the recent political upheavals subscribed by leading opposing politicians who are on a warpath spreading rumours and lies with their deceitful insinuations, perpetrating racial incitements and scandalous remarks, all meant to ferment mischief and division in a fragile society. All Guyanese need to voice their concern and speak up about this sudden change that has grappled Guyana by its neck and driving the fear factor into the hearts of Guyanese since the new government has taken over. The crime situation is atrociously out of hand and the police need to put their feet down, urgently and immediately.
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