Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Press 'Mute' to Pause Democracy

I have had trouble, for the last three months, putting pen to paper on behalf of this blog. When the Ninth Amendment was first published, I wrote a brief piece about how dangerous it could be -and the nonresponse was deafening. Silence, not even an argument. I wondered. Was I that bad of a writer? Quite possible. Or was it a combination of fear and apathy? Also possible. Or perhaps owning two companies really did have to happen at all costs. Whatever the answer, I opted not to write any more pieces about the Ninth, but rather just to stand back and watch developments. At the same time, the Ninth was so all-consuming, so much like palpitations to the heartbeat of my country, and so far beyond just being about nationalization, that I couldn't write about anything else. In effect, the Ninth was so important that it rendered me mute.

Of course, writing about the Ninth with even the faintest criticism meant someone who you elected to look out for your best interests would instead accuse you of treason. Same for talking about it, and if technology permitted, I suspect critical thinking would have required caution too. Even now the government can't stop gnawing on the chewy rawhide if-you-aren't-for-me-you're-against-me bone. But the Ninth, now the Eighth, has passed, and we slowly emerge from our bunkers, blinking in the glare, to sift through the wreckage it has left in the wake of its passage. 

Make no mistake, the wreckage is severe, and rebuilding will not be easy, if it's even possible. Our leaders throughout this process have shown an astonishing talent for divisiveness combined with breathtaking viciousness. The unknown fortune in taxpayer dollars spent on insulting, taunting, universally negative ads and terrorist activism to me proved that our Prime Minister and his colleagues care nothing for this country as the democracy it was meant to be. It suggested to me that we as voters are a means to an end only, and while I'm not sure what the endgame is, it cannot be healthy when we are thus objectified. ChessMaster, here lie your pawns, they served us well.

It is the money spent to fight for an amendment the all-too-silent majority didn't want that confirmed to me that it was bad. That confirmation in turn led me to sign the petition circulated by the much-reviled Friends of Belize. It was all I had as far as options went, and of course it did no good except to make me feel qualified to say I'd tried. Incidentally, could someone please let Ms Lois know that I received no payment for my signature and ask her to let me have it as soon as she can? Things thin with the noodle budget.

I'm no lawyer, I know nothing about ouster clauses and other such things. I do know that a government that attacks its people cannot be good for democracy, just ask the Syrians. I also know that with no credible opposition to save us, and given the likelihood that this government is in for a repeat performance, silence isn't golden anymore.

1 comment:

  1. This is a government that ignores the public and well-being of the very foundation of the Belizean people. Fairness and justice are the structure of society, and if they are lost, then society will disintegrate.