Rise up ye men and women!

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In response to our editorial of July 3, 2019 (yesterday), (We could do with some of that pre-2004 spirit) D. Gisele Isaac, the chairperson of the United Progressive Party appeared on Observer radio’s VOICE OF THE PEOPLE to refute suggestions that the UPP was dropping the ball “when they allow winnable battles to peter out inconclusively or be left unfinished.”

Isaac was particularly chagrined about our declaration that, “The UPP must up its game and up the ante when it comes to pressuring this government and – as we like to say – keep it on its toes; in tense circumspection about even thinking to do anything crooked, because an ever-vigilant UPP is always poised to pounce. This cannot be done in one-shot statements or press releases that they seem to forget . . . with no follow-up or continued pressing until the wrong relents.”

The UPP Chair was animated (and, of course, typically eloquent) in her defense of her party’s activism and ‘stick-to-itiveness” on the myriad issues of incompetence, malfeasance and skullduggery in high places here in our fair state, notwithstanding the dearth of tangible support that is sometimes evident in the opposition body politic.

Let us state unambiguously that we believe there is the faithful remnant; there are men and women of goodwill in every corner of this blessed land who are disgusted at the present sorry state of affairs and are willing to stand in the gap. The UPP, as the Chair was careful to point out, has unearthed many of the scandals foisted on our country by this administration, and they have sounded the alarm.

 So too have the Faithful Nationals and The Movement. These bodies have raised a hue and cry, and when the faint of heart have run for tall grass, the Faithful Nationals and The Movement have stood their ground and remained resolute. To the extent that we may have appeared to belittle or minimize the UPP opposition effort, that was not our intent. We agree that there is malaise and apathy among the people writ large. There is a spirit of meekness and mildness and wilful capitulation to the machinations of this administration. Seems we have become a nation of sheep, and we are now governed by a pack of wolves roving to and fro . . . seeking whom (and what) they may devour, whilst . . . er . . . ‘relieving’ themselves all over this country with impunity. Because nobody gives a damn! (And be not deceived, brothers and sisters, they are devouring an enormous portion of everything in this blessed land – east, west, north and south, even as we play possum).

And that is exactly the tide and trend that a committed political opposition is supposed and expected to buck, to resist and to repel. No one expects an opposition – as a party, as a discrete organization – to pull off such a feat on its own. But that is where political skill, commitment and endurance come in to build partnerships, to inspire and galvanize support through engagement, negotiation and healthy compromises – fueled and flamed by the confidence you generate with demonstrated self-belief, dogged determination and unshakeable purpose.

Worthy Opposition should not complain about or blame an apathetic body politic. It instead rouses and riles them from their slumber, ignites their consciousness and revs them into action against the deprivations, injustices and backwardness inflicted on them. It marshals, points and guides them to the empowerment of deposing and righting these wrongs.

The broad masses of people, once left leaderless and un-mobilized, tend to be just that – apathetic; unaware even of their own plight amid the desperate daily grind where heads are more hung down than held up in the plod for mere survival.

That pre-2004 spirit of outrage that permeated everybody, everywhere may seem no more, save in the conscientious few. But that spirit did not emerge by coincidence. It was nurtured, cultivated, developed over the long term, for a great many years in which the then conscientious few had to endure more than their share of setbacks, persecution, victimization – reviled even by those on whose behalf they were waging that struggle, but who had not yet come to understand what they were about and what they were fighting for.

Sceptics and fence sitters can be won over by persistence and perseverance, by consistency and insistence which can only be sustained when there is infectious conviction in the righteousness of one’s cause. Others – including churches and civic organizations – gradually, eventually and inevitably subscribe. Political campaigning and mobilization – much like church evangelization – are not one shot, one day, short term efforts. They are long term projects that anticipate and endure setbacks and rejection, apathy and lukewarmness. They begin, they continue and keep going – because they have to start somewhere, and they need the unshakeable belief that they will eventually triumph. They will have a hard time convincing themselves, much less others, of that faith if its practice and expression appear to be in fits and starts.  

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