May 14, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – There is a saying attributed to Nazi Government Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, that says, if a political machinery must lie to a people, it must create a Big Lie and repeat it until the people eventually accept it as truth. The term “Big Lie,” has in the past few months in keeping with the United States media’s penchant for packaging of buzzwords, to describe the ongoing campaign by recently ousted septuagenarian one-term American President, Donald Trump and his political machinery, to fool his hapless MAGA supporters and keep them convinced that he was cheated out of a victory in elections last year. Instead of being stopped in its tracks by repeated losses in court challenges, Trump’s Big Lie machinery continues to gain momentum, crushing even defiant Republican politicians in its wake. On May 3, Wyoming Congresswoman – and daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney – Liz Cheney tweeted “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law and poisoning our democratic system.” A little over a week later, on Wednesday of this week, in a closed-door session, she was voted out of the post as the third ranking Republican leader in the US House of Representatives.
This is not a situation with which Guyanese are unfamiliar. The APNU+AFC political machinery, led by David Granger, has sought to perpetuate the tremendous and tremendously stupid Big Lie, that they had won the elections and he had been elected President for a second term but, like Trump, were cheated. They sought to do so with a thousand supporting contortions and falsehoods, sending out from top tier leadership to bottom-feeding propagandists to mislead and misdirect, even as Granger himself led bravely away from the glare of the media spotlight. When AFC Executive and Granger’s son-in-law, Dominic Gaskin, did the decent thing and refused to endorse the indecency, he was ostracised by the party machinery and cast into political oblivion, even as his now former comrades were – with a straight face – spouting nonsense about Russians seeking to hack the elections and preparing secret dossiers begging for interference and support for the rigging from the very American political machinery it was telling its supporters was interfering against it.
People need to come to grips with the full scale of the dangerous and senile adventure David Granger et co took Guyanese on last year, and how it made pale in comparison, both in real and contextual terms, anything that preceded, including the rigging of the 1970s and 1980s that his machinery sought to blatantly reproduce, the perpetual Big Lie of Burnham that the PNC was a unifying electoral powerhouse in a multiracial, post-colonial society and not a dictatorial regime illegally propped up for the political convenience of Western countries in the middle of a global ideological conflict. The irony of the Big Lie of 2020 is that so much of it was based on the Big Truth that dominated Guyanese political reality of the 1970s, from the use of dead and overseas voters and the blatant tampering with documents, to the involvement of a corrupt judiciary, to the conspiratorial involvement of external global forces. Every fever dream machination concocted by the political machinery ran by the man referred to last year by one distinguished Caribbean diplomat, as a “sanctimonious gangster” was in fact virtually perfect recall of the reality of the Burnham dictatorship at the height of its powers.
Of course, we do not need to go back five decades in history to get a sense of the scale of the APNU+AFC’s Big Lie. Six years ago, three days after the elections of May 11, 2015, the incumbent PPP/C was contesting the results on claims of spoilt ballots et cetera, while the APNU+AFC coalition was providing its SOPs as a tool for analysis to show that it won the elections. The Donald Ramotar administration would concede defeat shortly after with the official results from GECOM and a peaceful transition of power would take place. In stark contrast, a year ago, the APNU+AFC had already spent over two months seeking to thwart the elections of March 2, 2020, with false claims of discrepancies, while refusing to show its SOPs. That attempt would continue indecently for a further three months, defying logic, sanity and reality as independently observed by the citizens of Guyana and the international community. It is only when a foreign power decided to revoke their visas, did the Granger government in August of last year, five months after the elections, finally step down from power, in the middle stages of a global pandemic.
Still, from that time to now, Granger’s political machinery has continued to clumsily and stupidly, but unrelentingly, perpetuates the Big Lie that they won the elections and the Irfaan Ali administration was conspiratorially installed by some shadowy, nebulous international forces. In the grand scheme of things, it is almost an exact parallel version of Trump’s delusional and insidious Big Lie agenda, except far shabbier, far more picayune.
As is currently being illustrated, America’s democratic institutions are – as complex and layered, as they are – resilient to the grant assault that the Trump administration represented. Liz Cheney might have been ousted from Republic leadership in the legislature but she is free to continue to be defiant having been directly elected by the people of her congressional district. There is no such parallel here for now since, until there is constitutional and electoral reform, the Pied Piper of Pearl, as head of the APNU+AFC list and “leader” (used loosely) at Congress Place, will have his organ continue to perpetuate the fiction of being cheated, as parliamentary peons shackled to the single list amble along to the tune of the Big Lie, headed to whatever cavernous, abysmal irrelevance he is leading them into. That cannot be good for their constituents, which means it cannot be good for our democracy.
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