“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness to light and light to darkness, who replace bitter with sweet and sweet with bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)
On April 11 I published a two-tweet thread in response to MSNBC oracle Rachel Maddow’s use of the words “absurd” and “freelancing” as she described the very questionable, seemingly unjust and unethical, president-Donald-Trump-impunity-serving behaviour of United States Attorney General William P Barr in the latter part of the above video.
In a summary beginning at 20:19, intriguingly because we’re in the “year of our Lord” 2019, Maddow uses the adjective “absurd” and the verb “freelancing” to describe what she says is the latest stratagem in the Trump administration’s “epic effort to submarine” special counsel Robert Meuller III’s report of his investigation into possible Trump administration collusion with Russia in the 2016 US presidential election and obstruction of justice since then.
Maddow says “Barr’s handling of this started off weird: it is now absurd! And, he is obviously freelancing; he is obviously making this up as he goes along.”
Tweeting directly to Maddow, I first suggested that instead of “absurd” the word “obscene” would better describe Barr’s apparent justice obstructing, ethical-legal accountability barring behaviour, which Maddow had already likened to that of Richard Nixon defenders, during the Watergate scandal.
I tweeted “Heartfelt thanks for this @maddow… But your characterization of Barr’s behaviour seems off. I wouldn’t call what you’ve described absurd: I’d call it OBSCENE.”
And declaring my own status as a “freelancer”, my second tweet takes issue with Maddow’s use of the word “freelancing” to describe what I consider Barr’s full-time, president-Trump-personal-employee-like actions.
It reads “I’m similarly concerned about your use of the word ‘freelancing’. I’m a freelancer. Barr seems to be on @POTUS’ personal payroll. #BarrBananaRepublic”
I tweeted these opinions (heresies?) because from my perspective, Maddow, whose apparently unscripted, at least partly improvisational, jazzy commentary was punctuated with incredulous sniggering and similar liminal laughing expressions, was failing to communicate the gravity and urgency of Barrr’s and the wider Trump administration’s threat to America’s democratic development.
In my opinion, she had failed to model the indignation that I believe citizens of what is reputedly the world’s leading democracy, should be feeling in response to Barr’s and other Trump supporters’ very questionable attempts to deny American taxpayers and voters direct access to Mueller’s report.
As the hashtag with my second tweet suggests, I believe that despite his best intentions, the 45th president of the US, aided and abbetted by his devout Roman Catholic attorney general Barr, his devout Roman Catholic vice president Mike Pence, his Catholic schooled counsellor Kellyanne Conway, the self-confessed Christian cynic Dr Ben Carson and others possibly harbouring antisemetic, homophobic, islamaphobic and similar prejudices, risks reducing the world’s all-time greatest secular democracy to a banana republic.
Despite referencing the Nixon administration’s tactics, Maddow’s commentary failed to convince me that she is fully alert to the urgency of the crisis confronting America’s democracy safeguarding justice system and its free press.
It may also be that because Maddow demonstrated a knowledge and understanding of what had transpired under Nixon, she may have unintentionally channelled a tone of glibness or complacency.
Could I have been put off by an unintended, perhaps subliminal suggestion in Maddow’s presentation, especially perhaps, in her body language, that we had seen it all before?
I cannot say for sure.
What I do know is that the more I have reflected on Barr’s behaviour and Maddow’s commentary, the more I have come to believe that she, and by extension MSNBC, were mischaracterizing a hugely consequential historical moment (And I will be addressing the peculiar historical-political worldview of Maddow’s boss Phil Griffin at my earliest opportunity).
I believe that like the ill-fated Israeli Beresheet spacecraft lunar mission, Maddow’s ambitious commentary had crashed and burned, on this occasion.
And the pain propelling me to share my perspective stems from my sense that Maddow and other media influencers are to some extent colluding with Barr, consciously or unconsciously, by misrepresenting the seriousness of the Trump White House threat, in much the same way that the unwritten New Covenant, a key democracy dispersing principle of Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth’s teaching and legacy, has been distorted and submarined by successive generations of his followers since at least the AD 30s.
As I make clear in my book The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled (TBBTR), the conscience based, personal responsibility focused sunsum (part of an ancient African metaphysical tradition that is similar to the Qi [pronounced “Chi”, as in “Tai Chi”] of Chinese culture) or driving force of Joshua’s life-story has been mischaracterized since approximately AD 30, the year of the first “Good Friday”.
My April 11 Twitter appeal to the “strict Catholic family raised”, gay rights activist Maddow could be viewed as an imprecise-precise passing of a burden of truth I have been bearing for at least 36 years now.
It could be considered both a cry for help and a clarion call that dates back to my 1992 poem The ‘Illiteracy’ of Christ; a poem I penned in 1992 and featured on page 21 of my first poetry collection, Standing, published by Roots Academy, (the predecessor to my current Intelek International proprietary label) in Barbados in 1994.
My poem “The ‘Illiteracy’ Of Christ”. There is also a song version of this poem, which I hope to produce for lovers of meaningful music one day.
Last month I tried to get some help bearing the weight of this burden by initiating an online conversation with Ryan Bonfiglio, an Atlanta, Georgia based American theologian.
But there seems to be a Barresque barrier obstructing Bonfiglio’s engagement with me.
Perhaps my missilic missive effort to engage with him has suffered some internal messaging malfunction and crashed and burned, like the Israeli rocket Beresheet.
I do not know.
I do know that there is an irony here though, because Bonfiglio leads the public access and engagement efforts of the Candler School of Theology, at Emory University.
And while I have no reason to cast aspersions on his, Candler Dean Jan Love’s, her personal assistant Jenka Fyfe’s or any other Emory employee’s character personally, I do wonder if some seemingly unjust and unethical, politicized gender, racial, religious or related racketeering impunity-serving individual or entity has intervened.
Sadly, more than 30 years of dealing with this kind of sabotage of my and others’ New Covenant “relationship rocket” building interference obliges me to consider this possibility.
But this kind of New Covenant communication copying and corrupting has been happening since the first century AD, as I feel certain academic theologian Bart D Ehrman, author of Misquoting Jesus, will agree.
Having said that, if as I suspect, Ehrman, has not grasped the fact that the greatest, most catastrophic misrepresentation of Joshua’s life and work consists in the confusion of the UNWRITTEN New Covenant with the WRITTEN New Testament, he might not be as pained about the damage Christianity, its Judaism antecedent and its Islamic and other book-based successors have been doing to themselves and other segments of humanity as I am.
“The blinkered ‘eye’ of this hurricane, exemplified by Corbyn’s coupling or ‘partnership’ with the consciously or unconsciously race-racketeering Labour MP Diane Abbott, consists in a dualistic, ambivalent British manners matrix that can only ever assure a fragile peace.
A certain, ‘too polite’ Norwich-based, lifelong Labour Party supporter working in the education field may know exactly what I mean.
She and others, possibly including persons who are abandoning the troubled, stormy-sea-of-sentimentality-beset Labour ship for the emergent, blunt-knife-tipped, supposedly frank, tank-tough-truth-to-power-speaking Nigel Farage and his Trump-like-hip, real politic preaching UKIP, may understand why from my standpoint, Prescott’s anger at Blair, however long defered was destined to be manifested almost inevitably.”
(From “Tony Blair, John Prescott and other ‘flags of convenience’ – Mouth Of the Beast #7”)
Little lies and big blangs
What if every time we told a lie, we shortened our lives a bit?
Or, put positively, what if the secret to maintaining youthful health and vigour for as long as possible is the courageous, radical honesty with oneself and others that keeps one’s conscience clear?
I believe that the secret to my own relatively youthful appearance is precisely such primarily self-facing, complementarily other-embracing, courageous honesty and a healthy conscience.
I believe the pursuit of such honesty and consequent clear conscience, or as Barbadian historian Trevor Marshall might call it, “pursuit of the quintessence of spirituality”, has distinct, scientifically measurable, mathematically verifiable psychosomatic health benefits.
Marshall is one of two prominent Barbadians who wrote a Foreword to my book The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled, my most simultaneously sweeping or panoramic and deeply probing prose study of the human psyche to-date.
The other foreword writer, Reverend Andrew Hatch, a high-ranking Anglican priest and broadcast media personality is now deceased.
I am indebted to those and other men, as I am to Esther Phillips, Viola Davis, Margaret Gill, Eudene Barriteau and other Barbadian women, for lessons in life that exceed the capacity of any secular or religious creed or teaching.
But their lives, their truth and ‘lies’, darkness and light are not “the history that touches and teaches me most”, as I write in the poetic tribute on TBBTR’s dedication page.
That role was and is still held by my father Geoffrey, my mother Lucille, my twin brother Wayne and sisters Cheryl, Yvette, Suzan and Ava: the members of the nuclear family into which I was born and which shaped my innermost infant and early childhood identity.
And the genetic and environmental deposits that I received through interaction with these first closest, earliest character forming relatives, continued to bear interest throughout my adolescent years, even after I was “born again”, as the saying goes, in usually keenly stressed, Bible-based evangelical Christian terminology.
The vigorous, jet stream adjustments and justifications of their love and understanding, or misunderstanding, as the case sometimes is in all familial eco systems, not only shaped my basic understanding of ‘right and wrong’ but carved the crucially character-shaping biological contours of my sexual self understanding simultaneously.
Those early, distinctly domestic interactions shaped my deeply ingrained, affective orientation toward heterosexual relations, marriage and fatherhood, co-productive journeys I looked forward to as a young adult with an enthusiasm that is in some ways baffling to me today.
That home-based history imparted a self image and understanding, or operational conscience, that continues to regulate my amorous appetites and wider social ambitions, moulding my moral compass and enabling me to navigate not only Barbados’ but Britain’s and the world’s fraught, perenially frothing ethical waterways with Sidney Poitier-like composure, and dignity.
It has catalysed a “personal truth to social power” principle of self-other communication that I believe is essentially what the biblical author of 1Timothy 1:19 is pointing to when he advises his intended audience, preseumed in the first instance to be a youthful apostolic apprentice named Timothy to “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear,” as the New Living Translation puts it, providentially.
The providence I am referring to here has to do with the NLT translators’ choosing of the verb ‘cling.’
As I read this word for the umpteenth time today (Friday, November 4, 2016), it gently rang with revelatory relevance and resonance as it had been echoed in the surname of African American author, activist and educator James Clingman.
Clingman had come to my attention for the first time only minutes before, at approximately 7:00 am, as I read his latest article, published on his own Blackonomics blog (www.blackonomics.com) and the website www.blackpress.com co-productively.
That article, entitled “What you need to know about the NAACP’s war on charter schools” confirms the perennial crisis of conscience in the global labour movement that has currently come to the fore most spectacularly in the ongoing atomization or disintegration of the British Labour Party.
This workers’ ‘lights and rights’ crisis is a tributary of the core, family-focused gender dynamic that I have been tracking in these articles using tropical storm imagery.
It sprouts from the seed of male-female identity and role confusion that has been humanity’s lot from time immemorial.
In the previous article I focused on the stormy relationship between Tony Blair and John Prescott.
Here it is the arguably steamy, ferociously fecund, passionately political pact between one-time lovers Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott that concerns me primarily.
I explore that race, gender and ideology transcending pact, which I have dubbed Corbott (like Brangelina, for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) as a trans-generational trade unionism contrived, capitalism co-opting, democracy disembowelling gambit that may well come to be viewed as a catalyst of the Thomas Mair-Jo Cox or Maox murder-suicide tragedy.
And I use the term ‘suicide’ here poetically, pointing to the environmentally sensitive, husbandman Mair’s self-destructive, Mitt Romney-like Talibank thinking: the fatal flip-flopping of those who take what they read about ‘communism’, ‘capitalism’, ‘feminism’, ‘atheism’, ‘Christianity’, ‘Islam’, ‘Hinduism’, ‘Buddhism’ and other secular and religious thought systems or ideologies too literally.
And news reports about the murderer Mair have made it clear that he read voraciously.
But are British educators, legislators, publishers and others who trade in intellectual property ever likely to take this hazard of reading seriously?
Nothing I have seeen so far in the UK, including during the ongoing British Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘Love To Read’ campaign or a recently concluded study of reading as a form of rest (R.I.P?) suggests that the lethalness of the letter is being internalized and bearing fruit anywhere as urgently as it needs to be.
Yet it is clear to me that the capacity of reading to foster simplistic, divisive analysis is costing Western society phenomenally.
For example, the same conscience eroding, opportunistic, selective superficial uniformity enforcing literalism conceals the catastrophic co-dependence of Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, or Clump, as I call these long-time, ambition conjoined twin-like personalities.
I do believe that Clinton and Trump are united, or unionised, at a profound, perversely productive level as surely as some of my Unite the Union colleagues and the Tories they denounce, by their respective childhood tragedies.
Has either Clinton or Trump really come to terms with their parents’ follies?
Has Hillary fully forgiven her father?
Has ‘the Donald’ been radically reconciled to his mummy’s reality?
Trump’s apparent contempt for women and Clinton’s much commented on impassivity suggest otherwise.
Americans voting today may therefore legitimately ask what Bettina Aptheker recalling, long-suppressed, unresolved familial conflicts might explain the eventual winner of the US presidential election’s domestic and foreign policies.
As I indicated to those who attended the inaugural Walk On Water talk, at the United Reformed Church on Princes Street in Norwich, here in Norfolk, on October 30, I view hurricane Clump as a contemporary consumation and manifestation of the age old battle of the sexes.
In a ‘deliberately’ tangential, thought trek through Martin Luther King Jr’s paternal inheritances, sexual interests and political legacies, I told tango teacher Laura Campeo and other creative Intelek associates of Clump’s incarnation of anxieties and antagonisms around male-female copulation and co-production that date back at least to Valentinus’ (c. 100 – c. 160 AD) and other first century Christian gnostics’ cosmic theories.
These are the same tensions that the trade unionism breathing Lord Prescott admits in his 2009 biography Docks To Downing Street.
And one of my main tasks here is to show how marriage and parenting fare as poorly under atheistic fundamentalist labour influences as they do under the context ignoring, conscience corroding influence of fundamentalist Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and other religious and secular thought systems.
Clingman’s article is crucial in this respect.
The highly esteemed educator writes “The call for a moratorium on charter schools by the NAACP is a case of ‘Throwing the baby out with the bath water.'”
Implying a degree of subversive strategizing Clingman continues “While most Black folks are concentrating on Hillary and Donald, the largest and oldest ‘Colored’ organization approved an internal resolution calling for a halt to the ‘expansion of charter schools’ until those schools meet criteria set forth by the NAACP.”
“The NAACP lacks the power to enforce its resolution, but their call for this draconian measure does come with the familiar stench of other positions they have taken—and not taken—because of political and, of course, economic reasons, the latter of which seems to be the driving force behind this latest move,” he continues.
And in a reference that brought to mind the blanging (blagging and banging) National Union of Teachers and that “certain, ‘too polite’ Norwich-based, lifelong Labor Party supporter working in the education field” mentioned in the quotation at the start of this article, Clingman quotes Dr. Steve Perry, a prominent American educator who has operated charter schools for years and who had this to say: ‘The NAACP national headquarters has received a significant amount of money from the teachers’ union. The only organizations to call for a moratorium on charter schools in particular, because they are non-union, are the teachers’ unions.’
That was conclusive proof for me that I had been led to Clingman’s article by divine providence.
The potential interpretaion of the Christian Clingman’s surname as a variant of the word “husband”, a man who clings or cleaves to his wife, as the Bible instructs, is just a collateral blessing, from that standpoint.
Life and death on the frontlines of gender struggle
Through an email notification I received on November 3, I am aware that Time Magazine has taken up the gender gyrations theme, in an article entitled ‘How the 2016 election became a battle of the sexes’.
Having read my Fundamentalist Feminism article, England-based men’s advocate Dave Pickering might understand why from my labels-penetrating linguist’s perspective, all conflicts can be viewed as off-shoots of the big bang, and subsequent clinging and clanging that is rooted in what I call fight-like-fraught, male-female complementarity or interdependence.
University of East Anglia students Juliet Donaghy and Francesca Gilbert, ‘feminist’ and ‘womanist’ activists respectively, might also appreciate why I and other heterosexual males continue to reel from the electric shock of Western media Jihadi Joans’ conscious or unconscious, Keith Vaz-like, dark, down-low homosexual hostility.
Clive Lewis, my local MP and other directly or indirectly aggressive, conscious or unconscious allies of professor Sir Hilary Beckles, his ‘understudies’ David Comissiong and Dr Aaron Kamuguishe, Barbados Labour Party leader Mia Mottley, poets Gill and Phillips (mentioned above) and other Barbadian academic, trade union and political elites might understand why I continue to protest and appeal, unapologetically, for a global gender war armistice.
I certainly hope that these and other current opposers but potential allies in my long-running campaign to expose global capital’s and labour’s flags of convenience are more open to collaborative, inclusive interpretations of contemporary gender conflicts than the ‘missing-in-action’ Martin Tod, CEO of the UK-based Men’s Health Forum and the possibly too-battle-hardened soldier Sean Jones, of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment seem to be.
After supposedly reading my FF article, Tod, a Liberal Democrat councilor for Hampshire apparently has difficulty seeing how his and my understanding of feminism are compatible.
Tod says that’s why he won’t sign a petition I have created calling on the British Parliament to have possible correlations between fundamentalist feminism and increasing rates of suicide among men investigated scientifically.
He has refused to make a pact with me and others committed to explore that possibly fatal, Corbott exploiting, Maox murderously marrying, negative male-female synergy.
And Jones, who like ex-soldier and current MP Johnny Mercer is a possible unintentional defender or ‘rationalizer’ of rogue soldier threats to UK civilians’ safety, seems to think that my emphasis on spiritual discipline is incompatible with the doctrine of mental toughness that the Armored Tigers with which he is associated teach.
Like Abbott and Militant or Momentum operatives, surging to support Corbyn with potentially admirable but also alarming militaristic “Labour discipline”, the apparent Tory soldier Jones inserted himself into a Twitter conversation I had initiated with Mercer, after I had discovered a Tweet by the Plymouth Moor View MP denouncing the Iraq Historical Allegations Team (IHAT) as a witch hunt.
Concerned that Mercer might not be aware of the full implications of his denunciation I tweeted “Hi @JohnnyMercerMP. Are u not worried #RogueSoldiers may see yr views as licence to abuse UK civilians? #Impunity.”
Mercer, who apparently subscribes to a deeply problematic doctrine of military “exceptionalism” and has been featured on BBC Radio Four arguing that human rights law should not be applied on the battlefield responded “No. absolutely not.”
That is the only response I have had from him so far.
I responded “Why? Because you’re fallible human beings and with the best intentions, mistakes happen.”
Jones apparently accepted this explanation but also sought, consciously or unconsciously, to minimise the scale and intensity of the consequences arising from armed forces personnel fallibility, saying that he “can only think of a few individuals who have been convicted of wrong doings”.
And apparently committed to the problematic, American military and politics recalling idea of “exceptionalism” that Mercer and others (including former British Army commander in Afghanistan Colonel Richard Kemp) embrace, Jones eventually started making what I believe is an unhealthy ideologically inflexible, literalistic, Corbottic coroded-conscience distinction between British civilians’ and soldiers’ fallibility and suffering.
For example, after I went to some length to explain that life is a battle for all of us, Jihadi Jones tweeted, “i see what your saying but I know people that fight life battles daily the average joe doesn’t have much to complain about”.
He would eventually go on to imply contempt for the suffering of Kate Goldsmith who lost her daughter Aimee and three other relatives who were killed in the notorious Tomas Krozer, mobile-phone-minding-lorry-driver tragedy that was receiving prominent news coverage at the time of our twitter exchange.
When Jones continued to show signs of sociopathic Corbottic, ideologically fixated desensitization and evasion, after I shared a video of Ms Goldsmith speaking after her daughter’s killer Krozer was sentenced, I suspended communication with him indefinitely.
Yet I have considerable sympathy for rogue soldiers defending Jihadi Jones.
From my perspective, he should not be made to bear sole responsibility for getting caught in the cross-fire of the deeply entrenched, historically bequeathed indiscipline and excessive self-indulgence of British religious and secular ideologues, brain-hardened, conscience calloused careerists who like Corbot (and Mercer, possibly?) play divisive gender, race and religious racketeering games in pursuit of short-sighted personal and political victories.
Indeed, if we take former soldier, Conservative politician Ian Duncan Smith’s shockingly candid comments about the use of secretive, subversive psych op tactics (at 16:06 on the linked recording) by himself and other pro-Brexit campaigners in the EU Referendum debate seriously, we might conclude that infantryman Jone’s defence of Mercer’s reckless, rogue-soldier-sense-of-impunity risking denunciation of IHAT as a witchhunt is evidence of psychological warfare fatigue.
That is, we might conclude that Jones’ deeply insensitive and disrespectful dismissal of the battles that the bereaved parents Doug Houghton and Goldsmith face on the frontlines of unrelenting human conflict and tragedy is evidence that he is a victim of subversive psych op brainwashing and deceit.
We might conclude that Jones and indeed all UK residents, civilian, military and paramilitary, have become so desensitized to matters of life and death, through the psych ops of manipulative, monopolized media-political campaigns primarily, that like Corbott and Clump, we have lost our capacity to humanely engage with and process the murder of the Parliamentary “infant” Cox and other events in the unrelenting saga of human misery.
“He spoke from his heart…We were just discussing what a great speech it was.”
This is how the speech delivered by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart during the launch of celebrations to mark the country’s 50th anniversary of independence was described by Sandra Hinds, a member of his secretarial team.
I called the prime minister’s office on Thursday evening to request a copy of the speech as I prepared to respond to claims he made about the impartiality of Barbados’ judicial system and the soundness and sustainability of its democracy.
Needless to say, based on my own and others’ observation of the impunity that some Barbadians like Donville Inniss enjoy, I am not sure about the authenticity of Mr Stuart’s statements.
I imagine that many Barbadians who have seen how partial or paralytic our court system can be in its dealings with, for example, the CLICO monetary ‘abuses’ of Stuart’s predecessor the late PM David Thompson, would want to challenge those and other claims made by Stuart and echoed by most who spoke during that launch ceremony.
Sadly, Stuart and many other Barbadians seem to have difficulty facing their own and others failings.
They tend to excel in superficial, simplistic analysis of those failings or ‘sins’ and the long and short-term impacts they have had and can yet have on Barbados’ development.
Hence, the rather disappointing suggestion by PM Stuart that some people are demanding perfection of Barbadians while being poor models of perfection themselves.
Could he have framed that argument in more clichéd, thought-tiny language?
Could he not have come up with a more original and rigorous way of expressing that idea: a more robust scale or framework by which to assess and measure the expectations and standards by which Barbadians analyze our country’s progress since the relative independence achieved in 1966?
What is ‘great’, to quote Ms Hinds, about that defence by Stuart of Barbadians failings?
It doesn’t suggest a very deep reach into his heart by the PM.
It doesn’t suggest, for example, that Mr Stuart is familiar with the idea that “perfection” is more of a process than a point of personal or national development.
Might not Barbados’ High Commissioner to the UK, Reverend Guy Hewitt, or some other prominent Barbadian cleric have informed the PM that in the well known passage of scripture “Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) the Greek terms behind the English translation invoke pursuit of a goal, rather than its attainment?
Might not regional Anglican potentate Dr John Holder, himself a Barbadian, have previously informed PM Stuart of this more historically informed and accurate mode of biblical interpretation?
Or should we conclude that while Mr Stuart is a Queens Counsel (or QC, like Cherie Blair and therefore presumably a legal practitioner of some standing) he has never been exposed to that level of religious or spiritual teaching?
More worryingly still, might it be the case that having been exposed to such teaching PM Stuart has not retained the basics?
Might the soil of his heart have proven so shallow, hard or barren as to have squandered or rejected such small beginning, mustard seed sized educational investments?
Our Prime Minister is clearly familiar with the idea of receiving, retaining and rejecting biblical education approximating banking lessons.
Unless I am mistaken, he advised Barbadians to employ a three-fold framework of receiving, retaining and rejecting aspects of our national heritage as we contemplate our island state’s future prospects.
This clearly more studied, possibly pre-rehearsed proposal is something of an improvement over the simplistic “imperfect people asking us to be perfect” comment that preceded it.
But Stuart’s apparently glib, greasy and slippery grasp of what it means to pursue perfection does not inspire confidence in his ability to lead Barbadians in a truly rigorous, robust process of measuring moral development or progress.
On the contrary, what it suggests is a degree of moral myopia and bankruptcy.
It indicates ethical erosion and the anchorless historical drifting.
It evokes the dripping or spitting of essentially empty words from the mouth of one who, in ethical terms, is only superficially educated.
From my perspective, it puts PM Stuart’s speech, and the political mouthing of Opposition leader Mia Mottley and many of their DLP and BLP associates (including persons like University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor professor Sir Hilary Beckles, prominent poet Margaret Gill, politician David Comissiong, educator Esther Phillips, journalist David Ellis, Rev Sonia Hinds and others with whom I have had significant interactions, in a rather lamentable regional and international context.
Essentially, it lumps their words with Hilary Clinton’s extraordinary 2008 fantasist account of landing in Bosnia under sniper fire in 1995.
That military incident appears to have happened only in Ms Clinton’s head.
And few would vouch that as she uttered or berthed that item of artificial intelligence she spoke from her heart of hearts, her deepest, most holistically self-understood self in that instant.
Stuarts and other Barbadians apparent failure to understand that being perfect is at least as much about a course of travel as arrival at any destination lumps their and narrowly nationalistic, critical analysis dismissing defence of Barbados’ shortcomings with the mainstream media-puffed, much over-rated speech delivered last year by British Labour Party power-broker Hilary Benn in the English Parliament in defence of David Cameron’s proposal to intervene in Syria to bomb ISIS.
He may have been generously applauded by Tory, Labour, Liberal Democrat, UKIP and other Parliamentarians, but I can’t conceive of his father, anti-war icon Tony Benn being particularly proud of him in that moment.
At a substratal linguistic, and especially pragmatic and semantic level, Stuart’s speech recalls the African supremacist pro-reparations (for trans-Atlantic slavery) money mongering arguments of the UWI Vice Chancellor Beckles delivered at the United Nations New York headquarters, Chicago University and other unfortunate openings in recent times.
And the term ‘abomination of desolation’ comes to mind here, as the killing of Jamaican Khalil Campbell by Beckles’ son Rodney in 2007 is whispered in my conscience.
Sadly, such deeply deplorable, even sacrilegious abuses of public spaces by profane speech acts seem to have become all the rage since 9/11.
Among these metaphorical, ISIS approximating ‘public beheadings’ and other short-sighted, opportunistic obscenities, the crowning of Trinidad born and initially bred, Oxbridge and wider British elitism prejudice fed writer VS Naipaul with the Nobel Prize for literature in 2002 stands out poignantly.
Has human intelligence, measured in terms of morality, spirituality, scientific inquiry or any other rubric ever been more profanely prostituted than when it was associated with the dark, devious machinations that were conceived in Mr Naipaul’s head?
I do not wish to be unkind to the aged Mr Naipaul, Prime Minister Stuart or anyone else with whom I have taken issue in this essay on the measurement of human progress or perfection.
I’m simply saying that if Barbadians are to stand any chance of ever achieving the kind of global leadership that Mr Stuart and others may rightly desire for us, they and we will have to give up the cognitive and affective industry avoiding laziness that inclines us to complacently and glibly ‘measure ourselves by ourselves’, to paraphrase the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 10:12).
Such simplistic, Adolf Hitler and Forbes Burnham recalling notions of independence and integrity lump Barbadians with the demagogue Donald Trump, the Talibank thinkers Mitt Romney and Luis Farrakhan, and a range of other Jamaican, Trinidadian, Guyanese, British, American, Canadian, Indian, Nigerian, Malaysian and other morally bankrupt political opportunists.