The COVID 19 pandemic has exposed the very soft underbelly of politicians throughout the world, and from those in office to those warming opposition benches their true colours are now shining through.
For those in power and required to make decisions to protect the lives and wellbeing of their citizens, few have stood tall in the hurricane winds of this coronavirus.
Most have wilted, whether it is Trinidad and Tobago where they still have people jailed behind locked borders and where they have now introduced a bumbling repatriation system, or to the big boys like the United Kingdom, where Boris Johnson has cowed to pressure from within and locked down the entire country rather than just areas which are hot spots.
The vast majority of leaders have simply toed the line and passed the buck to the WHO or PAHO, who themselves have not yet gotten a proper handle on what should not be done and what can be done.
First it was lockdowns and then they had to backtrack because they realized that you might be saving lives but destroying livelihoods and therefore destroying the same lives you were attempting to save. That people’s mental health was being compromised and that suddenly new problems were being created: depression, alcoholism and even drug abuse. That crime was on the rise.
Few leaders analysed the disaster holistically and then cultivated a practical approach that worked for their countries – they just lined up behind whatever the big boys did – whether it made sense or not – and locked it all down. You see most politicians instinctively take action with the priority of holding on to office, as opposed to doing the right thing.
Doing the right thing isn’t cool you see and people just love to criticize. People love a scapegoat and parties in power rather conform than take hard decisions that may not be cool.
Few, very few have shown the intellect to understand that this battle takes place on two fronts; the first is to save lives and safeguard the health of our societies, while the other is to make sure our economies do not collapse and that people are not pauperized overnight.
That means finding ways of existing in the current environment while allowing people to work and earn.
Sadly even fewer leaders have shown the resilience to stand by such measures, and their first reaction is always a return to the default position of lockdown – which is simply not an option. Look at the USA, much of the panic is driven by media forces that need to have headlines they can run with.
On the other side of the political divide you have these selfish opposition forces that would use this calamity to gain cheap political points, not once considering how it would impact the people they claim to want to serve.
Examples abound, including in Saint Lucia where there appears to be little control over the dissemination of misleading or blatantly false information. It’s like the Wild West.
All of this is exacerbated by large segments of the population who simply do not take time out to understand what is going on. Too many people are happy with being fed a story – doesn’t matter if that story is accurate – and then running with it, their What’s App and Facebook and Twitter feeds perpetuating the damage.
Everyone knows the saying knowledge is power, but few take time to try and understand what that means.
People have a responsibility to themselves, and to their children – especially in such an environment of uncertainty, fear and sickness – to make an effort to try and understand what is happening, to stop swallowing the nonsense some people are peddling just because we support a certain party or like a certain individual.
If God forbid you or your child gets ill, if you, your husband or son or daughter gets laid off, if you open the pantry and it is bare, if you need to go to the doctor and have no money to pay, which one of those divisive politicians or individuals will run to your side and pay your bills?
Not a damn one!
So heads up people, time to start dealing in reality and truth, the struggle is far from over and as I have seen seeing in a series of ads being run lately; let the protocols work!