Gotterdammerung – the twilight of the gods

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He seemed to be speaking with a seething, barely-controlled rage. He tried to sound reasonable and magnanimous and statesmanlike. It availed little; it was fooling no one. We’re talking about Monday evening’s address to the nation, from a high place, broadcast on national television – a colossal flop that changed no minds. You see, despite the attempt to sound agreeable, his bitter words came out like wormwood and gall; they fell from his tongue, as would dripping venom from mouth of a snake.

The performance, totally lacking in nuance and subtlety, reminded many of the clever seduction of the woman in John Milton’s treatment of the story of the fall of man in PARADISE LOST. Save that, whereas Milton’s snake was cool and cunning, he of a high place here in our fair State was boorish and off-putting. How else can one describe a leader hissing and spitting a diatribe replete with bile such as, “Our political opponents’ deceptive, demonic agendas to fuel chaos and confusion . . . violent aggression and lawlessness . . . partisan thugs posing as freedom fighters . . .blah, blah, blah. Losers, loafers hot air, hot air, . . . criminal elements . . . blah blah blah. . . .”The prime time speech was spectacular for its manifest contempt for the people.

Of course, in the aftermath of last Sunday’s face-off between the police and the peaceful, law-abiding citizens of this fair State, we here at NEWSCO began asking questions, and based on the answers that we’ve been receiving, it appears as though there is much discontent in Antigua and Barbuda. For one thing, we suggest that the setting of fires, the stone throwing at buildings, such as the old PDO building, and the widespread defiance displayed by the people speaks to a general frustration with this callous out-of-touch administration. Seems, all’s not well in Mudville! Seems, this is Gotterdammerung, the implosion and daily diminution of a regime, desperately fighting to remain relevant. The thing is that the people have already begun looking past the incumbency. They are daily reminded and persuaded that the future of Antigua and Barbuda does not, indeed cannot, lie with this hapless administration.   

The people are tired of the routinely late monthly wages, and their inordinately late Social Security monies. Contractors are fed-up with the non-payment of bills on the part of this welching administration. Nearly everyday, some entity is taking action against this administration for non-payment of monies owed. (See one of the school-uniform suppliers). Many persons who have had dealings with National Housing all have horror stories – faulty wiring, incomplete work, shoddy workmanship, bedrooms that are too small, and National Housing personnel in high places that are rude and belligerent, and so on and so forth. It is a national disgrace!

Daily life is a herculean struggle for the masses of the people who can find neither hide nor hair of the people whom they elected to represent them. Of course, they are only asking for running water, decent roads, clean gutters, and sidewalks that are not a threat to life and limb. Sadly, with this administration, those basics are a bridge too far, and the people languish in disillusionment and despair. There is an overall dissatisfaction with the way that this administration has been handling the affairs of State – the sloppiness, the lack of polish and savoir faire – that ability to handle matters smoothly and with a reassuring confidence. This administration says or does one thing, then back-tracks and second-guesses and bungles. It screws up everything it touches in an astonishing reverse Midas touch.  Oh so amateurish!

And then there is the naked aggression. Some in high places seem to thrive on getting involved in petty back-and-forth on trivial matters. They threaten and bully! They engage in silly and unbecoming name-calling and assorted public foolishness. Tsk! Tsk! Whatever happened to graciousness and fealty to the dignity of the offices held? All fall down! Instead of paying attention to finding the other/s involved in the Nigel Christian shooting, instead of bringing to account the person or persons who allegedly forged a signature at Customs, instead of sorting out our electricity and internet situation, instead of keeping the many promises that they flippantly make, those in high places are busy gratifying themselves with melee and stupidity on social and other media.

So, he of a high place, goes on national television to defend the indefensible. The defense falls flat, because he does not even believe the nonsense that he spouts himself. Remember, while in opposition, he and his band of agitators and rabble-rousers routinely staged marches and protests, defying the authorities and engaging in name-calling most vile. The cloak of piety this past Monday fools no one. 

Interestingly, our fair State earned the dubious distinction as one of only two countries around the world to tear gas its citizens for their opposition to some of the government’s policies as they pertain to vaccines. Here’s what the WASHINGTON POST [August 1, 2021] reported on the goings-on in Paris: Police in Paris used tear gas Saturday as thousands of protesters joined marches to denounce plans for vaccine “health passes,” the latest tensions around the world over government mandates to reward those who get vaccinated and maintain restrictions on those who refuse.” Hmmmm! Ah yes, in the land of ‘liberte, egalite, fraternite!’ (the national motto of France and Haiti) Sigh!

Perhaps we ought to end this piece with the words from the second stanza of King Short Shirt’s NOT BY MIGHT: “Give me liberty or give me death” / Guns will never quell / The struggles of freedom / Where injustice dwells / The spirit of revolution / Will never bow down to a man / The quality of virtue increases beneath oppression / The more we are suppressed and denied our right / To pursue all happiness and liberty / It’s the greater our resistance / To tyranny shall be.” No power, not by might! Never mind the tin-pot dictators!

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