Kaieteur News – Each country is different from others. But there are some basic, recurring features in every society, one of which is the power of convicted beliefs in an accepted leader. In the last 10 years, right-wing populism has swept powerful countries and because those countries are global actors, the effect are seen everywhere on earth.
One of the defining characteristics of right-wing populism is mass saturation of the leader’s beliefs. Populist leaders in Brazil, Hungary, Poland, the Philippines, the US under Trump, Italy under Salvini, among others, just do not echo their sentiments and leave it for their followers to spread.
What they do is that they make sure their core-beliefs are saturated in society. They use every occasion to broadcast their feelings. After one year, two, three years, those beliefs gain extensive popularity. The most successful populist extremist is Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump will feature in the textbook on political theory, political behaviour and comparative politics for decades to come. Why? Because he transformed American society in ways that will last a long, long time to come. Trump was a stuck record on promulgating his view on things.
If you turn on the television on January 1 and you saw Trump fulminating against immigrants, it will be the same thing on December 31. By the time he was voted out of office, large sections of the American society began to echo the things Trump embraced because they saw them and heard them so often.
Democrats on the other hand lack the willingness to aggressively pursue their beliefs. What happens then is that they would episodically sprout some value that they cherish and you will not hear about that again. As I type this analysis here, President Granger came to mind.
The reason why a lady in 2021 was prevented from entering the Region Four office because she wore a sleeveless dress was because the guard and the employees inside the building did not know that in 2017, the President of Guyana called such a ban, nonsensical.
They didn’t read it then and never read it again because Granger never repeated his belief. This is the vacuum in leadership in the democratic world that must be filled especially in a land like Guyana. There is at the time of writing a governmental outreach on the NIS where aggrieved persons can meet the Finance Minister.
This is indeed laudable but it should not be the only avenue of redress. The President, the Finance Minister, the other ministers must use avenues available to constantly address the removal of backward values that Guyana needs to eradicate urgently because they should not be part of the social, philosophical and cultural landscape of Guyana in the 21st century.
The high-ranking employees of the NIS, UG, the police force, the public service, GWI, GPL, GRA, public hospitals, private hospitals, insurance companies, the private sector, the commercial banks, private guard services, among others, will not know how the President and his Cabinet feel about their endemic mistreatment of the citizens of Guyana if the President and his Cabinet do not do what Trump did – constant banging.
So we have an NIS outreach. It ends in a few days’ time, memory fades and the NIS employees will not remember that the government was furious about mistreatment of pensioners. Here is an interesting story. I went to a gentleman named Bharrat Jagdeo who was the special assistant to Finance Minister, Asgar Ali. It was about the GRA’s mistreatment of a mini-bus importer.
This was long, long before anyone in Guyana, the PPP and Mr. Jagdeo himself dreamt that he would be president. Mr. Jagdeo left the presidency in 2010. We are in the year 2021 and last week, a gentleman in the National Park approached me about the identical misbehaviour of the GRA that the mini-bus driver approached me about in 1993 although the issue is not about a mini-bus but an imported item of food. Jesus Christ! 1993 is 27 years ago when I got the complaint about the same thing. Interestingly, the aggrieved gentleman has seven children including a baby. Maybe God will feed the children.
If leaders are going to change their countries for the better (unfortunately Trump changed it for the worst), they have to transmit their core-values to society in a constant manner. They have to tell the citizenry that old customs, dilapidated values the world left behind 200 years ago, outdated conceptions, social myths, sociological fictions long accepted as truths must be removed from the collective psyche of the nation. And they must remind the citizenry quite often as Trump did.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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