Jan 08, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – We always thought that the words of Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, had specific relevance to here and only here in this Guyana of ours.
It was when he said in the travails of our national elections, replete with count, recount, and endless haggling over both, that it was not going to end well. To our great comfort, Dr. Rowley’s prophesy passed us by. To the great discomfort of many Guyanese, and to much of the world at large, the PM’s words rather unfortunately took on special meaning late in the afternoon of Wednesday last before a disbelieving global audience, and in the capital of the United States of America, Washington, D.C, of all places. It did not end well.
What did not begin well did not end well at all for four persons now dead. They are dead to megalomaniac rhetoric, dead to spiteful speech, dead to divisive words spewed so effortlessly, but now so tragically. And responsibility for those four deaths belongs foursquare and fully at the feet of the sitting president of the United States.
Play with fire, and burning inevitably results. Pull the pin from live grenades, and it is more than a ticking time bomb in the hand – it blows up in the face. And that was what, after all the verbal antics and electoral hijinks of the president of the United States, did happen on Wednesday last.
What the U.S. president did was not on the steps of some State House in some backwater Deep South capital, but in Washington, D.C., the national capital. The American leader whose official address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is not small-time Governor Orville Faubus in Little Rock, AR in 1957 rallying the bigots and good ole boys to engage in a near full-scale riot, but the president of the United States, with sacred Constitutional obligations. Or as President-elect Joe Biden said of a people, time and place that now needs to return to the basics of honor and dignity. And the incumbent president of the United States should not be compared to arch segregationist George Wallace from Alabama, the heart of the old Confederacy, though there are considerable grounds to do so, and do so powerfully and irrefutably. But as Martin Luther King once memorably described that same Governor George Wallace as the “most dangerous racist in America today,” the temptation and speculation is that such a comparison is most fitting.
Though things reached a white-hot pitch in Arkansas and Alabama way back in the ‘50s and early ‘60s, nobody died in those turbulent days of confrontation and reckoning. But on a winter’s afternoon on Wednesday January 6 2021, four people died, and the cause of their violent deaths has to be attributed to the president of the United States.
The president of the United States summoned supporters. The president of the United rallied anarchists and demagogues. And the president of the United States of America, through his incendiary words and unrelenting postures, all but let them loose to wreak whatever mayhem suited their warped individual fancies. There is much responsibility for that long simmering volcano stoked past explosion point that somebody has to take ownership for, should be held accountable for, and ought to be made to pay for before the bar of justice. We know that it is not president-elect Joe Biden.
We do not think that such blame should belong anywhere near to Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who tried belatedly (yes), but he did try. In any post-mortem, the finger of God is sure to point into the face of Senator Ted Cruz (R-FL), as an aider and abettor to the delusions of his president, and all in the name of power, the retention of power, and the extension of power.
We know about the struggle for power from long experience, repeated every five years, here in Guyana. We have had our brushes with chaos and violence, as orchestrated and channeled into the mindless, unrestrained furies of the mob, and it’s awesome unleashed power. That was what we saw with a shudder on Wednesday last. That was what the world saw, too. That is not the exercise of democracy, the same democracy spoken of so nobly by the United States around the world, where it seeks to impose its will and its once admired way. Well, that way just went to the dogs before a watching world.
The prestige of America suffered; its reputation can no longer be spoken of in the hushed terms of before. And as the bells toll a requiem for the four fallen, we do well to remember where and how it started, and the purposelessness of it all. And as for sole and ultimate responsibility, all we have to say is this: does it really matter at all? Does it matter anymore?
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