'The only thing to fear is fear itself'Wednesday, September 01, 2021
Former President of the United States Franklin D Roosevelt, in his 20-minute-long inaugural address in 1933, said, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts.”
Today, that fear paralyses Trinidad and Tobago.
In the absence of strategic planning, vision, and inspiration, many of our politicians have turned to sowing seeds of fear to remain pertinent. There are widespread underlying beliefs that if one were to vote outside of his/her race, party, or sect, the other major opposing party, race, or sect would take over. This is buttressed by insinuating that one is more corrupt than the other, and that such corruption is not because of simple greed; it's deeper, it is part of the DNA of the sect.
Those seeds of fear continue to cripple the poor and stymie their ability to grow. One remembers a trade union encouraging its membership to refrain from using their privileged position to buy shares, while other investors jumped at the opportunity and gained financially.
Fear has crippled man's ability to grow for generations; for example, the fear that the Earth was flat and that going far out to sea would lead to one falling off.
Today, surrounded by the sickness and death associated with COVID-19, some are sowing seeds of fear that somehow the vaccine designed to prevent them from dying will cause a multitude of unproven distresses, including electronic manipulation of one's DNA.
The bandits and robbers have been able to prevail in our communities because of fear.
Many misled citizens are fearful that, unless they continue to support politicians or sects that are inimical to the development of Trinidad and Tobago, they would lose their government contract, their political appointment, or their position of leadership within the community.
Consequently, while the rest of the world marches forward, Trinidad and Tobago is marching backward, as evidenced in the bewilderment we feel when we hear our sports commentators, sporting teams, political leaders, and businessmen and businesswomen struggle with basics like the English language.
To fix our roads, regulate our water supply, suppress criminal activity, expedite justice, feed ourselves, and position our country to meet the economic challenges of a post-pandemic world we need to unite. The only way we can succeed is as one people, one nation.
We have the people, the natural resources, the required education, and the finances to improve the quality of life for every citizen. Such widespread wealth and development would mean that the few who greedily steal our nation's wealth would, perhaps, no longer be able to throw corn to the many for their support. That cannot be an attractive option for those who thrive on divisiveness and fear. So, sowing the seeds of fear will not only be continued, but also encouraged, and if allowed to fester can destroy the very fragile fabric of our democracy.
Reject fear and embrace love for each other. If one must fear, then fear, fear.
Trinidad and Tobago