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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Children...

There's so much craziness going on in Trinidad & Tobago recently that my head spins...

The UNC continues to fight in the public space, with this faction in arms against that faction, and this group at cross purposes with another, and who doesn't like whom, and this one making fun of that one in open forums. It's downright disturbing that adults can stoop unashamed to the level of childishness and pettiness that's in evidence. Six pages I counted in one daily newspaper last week of accusations and telling tales out of school. And I was disgusted as one member made the monkey of another on a public platform. It's as if they're all running around and shouting, "Nah-nee-nah-nee-boo-boo! Stick yuh head in..." and throwing people out of the club because they didn't like each other anymore.

I could swear last week, though I can't find an article or anything to support it, that I heard one of our business leaders on the radio making a very disturbing statement. It was something to the effect that he hears that the public is calling on big business to do something about the decay of Trinbagonian society, but that the same public calling for action is indisciplined and has no respect for order themselves. I don't understand what one has to do with the other. So because the public has little responsibility in your view, you're not going to do whatever you can as a leader in industry and commerce to assist? Sounds a lot like, "I don't want to do it... So-and-so down the road not doing it..."

Then there's the whole issue of the Chief Justice and his alleged interference in a some very high profile cases. The funny thing is that it's not just one accusation. Emphasis is being placed on the allegation being made by Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicholls. But I seem to recall Timothy Cassell, prosecutor in the recent Panday case, reporting a very odd conversation with the CJ while they were on a flight together. I could be wrong, but I think I'd heard that the CJ also is reported to have exerted some influence on the Narayansingh cases in South. In another place and space, for the sake of the office, the individual would have stepped down, even if at the end of the day they were exonerated. But not here in Trinidad, it seems. Here, we have tantrums being thrown in various quarters, and persons making statements that seem to suggest that the Judiciary is a law unto itself. I can almost hear, "Ah not going!!! Ah don't want to gooooooo!!!" followed by the sound of a thumb being popped into a sucking mouth.

When our prominent adults behave this way, with such spoiled-baby behaviour, what are our children supposed to learn about what's appropriate?

Instead, they learn that the ends justifies the means.

At the simplest level, they learn that doing the wrong thing is okay if you're doing it for a good cause. So, for example, if you burn things in the road and create an obstruction, it's alright because you just want to get your roads fixed. They learn that it's alright too to burn alleged criminals' homes down because they're surely going to be convicted anyway, yes? So the lesson is that it's alright to take the law into one's own hands.

Further, they learn that it doesn't matter who you have to take advantage of or who you cheat or who you steal from. What matters is that there's a benefit at the end of the day, like a new airport terminal or a national team going to the World Cup.

Even further, they learn that people aren't equal under the law. Apparently, some persons deserve different treatment because of who they are or who they're associated with. Guilt isn't guilt. Guilt depends.

They learn that keeping promises isn't what is important. Making much ado about making the promise itself is what's critical, not the timeliness of delivery or delivering at all. Ent TSTT? It's 12 days later. Is the new child abuse hotline number 1-3-1 working yet?

They learn from the media that the facts aren't important and it's quite okay to say something that's not true about someone, as long as you use the word "alleged".

The children learn that the public good is for naught and is superceded by the rights of the individual. As such, because one person is said to want see a man all up inside a woman's business on TV at eight o'clock in the night, everybody has to be exposed to it.

We teach them that even though we're pretty much on the right side all the time, it's okay every now and again to take a chance and do something wrong.

And then we all want to sit and wonder why our children have no respect for authority, why they challenge us on every issue, and why we simply can't control them anymore.

We, as a society, have quite simply given up the right to do so.

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