… lying ahead of us in the USA? There is all kinds of weeping and weeping (and some teeth gnashing privately) going on about the “death of democracy” in the US after the uprising at Capitol Hill. No such thing! Democratic governance has always been controversial – by its very nature. If trying to get members of your own family to decide what to order when you drive through in KFC ends in glare and sulks, how do you agree on what to order for 300 million people, aren’t they even family? The challenge for Americans, of course, is that for the past 200 years they have been trying to convince their citizens that they are, in fact, family. The American Family … where all are equal. And this is where democracy came in. In the family, Mum and Dad make the last call. He used to be a Dad not so long ago. After all, he had the wallet! But that changed after acknowledging that Mum also contributed to the well-being of the family in so many ways. And slowly, the children should also have input. Although we have not yet reached a point where we are actually counting hands in the family when making decisions, this is what most countries do when it comes to national decisions. Democracy! We devised this thing called “elections” where every adult – after a great deal of trouble – votes for “Representatives” who, on their behalf, would make decisions on issues facing the nation . These Representatives are members of “parties” representing different views on those issues. And as we’ve said before, this can sometimes get messy. Encouraging people to seek alternative ways of making decisions for the nation – the main ones being dictatorships of one kind or another. Fascism, communism, most important party rule etc, etc. But as Churchill – the veteran British politician – noted in a debate in Parliament after World War II, “Many types of Government have stood trial, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or wise. Indeed, democracy has been said to be the worst form of Government, except for all other forms of that which are experienced from time to time; but there is a widespread feeling in our country that the people should govern, govern continuously, and that the public opinion, expressed in all constitutional ways, should shape, guide and control the actions of Ministers, their servants, their masters. ” Unfortunately the uprising attempted on January 6 on Capitol Hill has been tried before in almost every democratic country in the world. Eventually, they had to be put down and democratic norms returned to settle disagreements. Those who do not listen must feel.
… are we to do it here? In Guyana, let us not forget that we have had attacks on our democracy centers by those who oppose the PPP government of the day. In the 1960s, PNC mobs laid siege to Parliament Buildings in sit-ins, and attacked Jagan’s vehicle when he tried to leave. In the 1992 elections, mobs mobilized by Hamilton Green invaded Election HQ with US President Carter inside, and only a call to a sitting US President saved the day. In 2003, we were invaded by the President’s Office by PNC mobs, headed by Mark Benschop. Two people were killed and several injured. That was, of course, at the center of the “slow fyaah, mo fyaah” strategy promoted by the PNC to “expose, oppose and overthrow” the PPP Government, in the words of the then PNC member and (again) Raphael Trotman. But our democracy survived because of the strength and fortune of the PPP to defend it. Our Democracy will survive the upcoming PNC attacks !!
… For COVID-19 With the spread of new types of COVID-19, those responsible for policing adherence to the anti-viral protocols will have to step up their game. Everyone is involved, and all can be eaten.