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Envisioning our future

The true litmus test: signs point voters to the St Georges South polling station at the Holy Trinity Church in the 2007 General Election (File photograph)

What legacy would you like to see our youth leave behind? Better said, what legacy should they want to leave behind for themselves?

I can almost hear the rumbling thoughts in the many adults’ minds who feel the youth today seemingly don’t have a purpose and, aside from becoming educated, appear aimless. Particularly those adults who are old enough to have witnessed the events of the Sixties.

By comparison, the youth of the previous generations led the movements. When you consider the Progressive Group, with the likes of Stanley Ratteray, Florence and Clifford Maxwell, Erskine Simmons and even if you pushed Roosevelt Browne among that group, we are talking about college students and recent graduates who were the forerunners of change.

It wasn’t that they invented a new mission; they picked up the baton of an ongoing struggle of the generation before them and interpreted the next steps needed in a battle formerly led by the names of persons such as Arnold Francis, David Tucker and Martin Wilson, to name a few.

So, in some ways, we can’t blame the youth of today if there is no succession and no clearly identified mission for them to advance upon.

Our forebears did the best with what they had and we can respect their limited understanding and ability to make the world better than what it was.

They nor their strategies were perfect. Nor was the world they left behind meant to be venerated as perfection — it was all work in progress.

The march towards a more enlightened sociopolitical environment stopped with our generation, who had no vision beyond what was achieved.

It would be amusing to see what is offered as ideology to our youth today because the last generation of youth with any fascination with the old themes of the Sixties are greying now and probably wearing thick spectacles.

It would be a huge indictment of our political status if the only thing that can be offered to them are tales of the Sixties.

More amusing would be to watch old strategies and armaments of that era being handed to a new crowd; somewhat like using First World War weapons as training tools for modern warfare.

Equally, it would be a complete bore if the presumption is that we have already have arrived.

In such case, what is there for the youth except to carry on with old tales?

On a real and fundamental level, politically, we have only just begun. The Sixties should be an indicator of just the beginning of a new day.

Many of our children have since gone to universities and colleges of further education.

They have become fully engaged with history and have become well acquainted with the ideas of Eurocentrism, Afrocentrics, colonisation and a variety of modes that have contributed to political thought and where we are today.

No doubt, today, with the advance of globalisation, which has made most cities multicultural, there is a new demand for a truth and an ideology that is not ethnocentric, but embraces all humanity.

Democracy is just a term and it is also an idea with no set formula except one where people vote for their leadership. Democracy is not perfect, but in a human and societal context, it is the only way to express equality.

It’s the level of equality and level of participation afforded to each member of the electorate that should provide the true litmus test on the effectiveness of the system of democracy.

Here is where we use the term participatory democracy.

Not all democracies are participatory, even though they claim wholeheartedly to be democracies.

This, I believe, is the frontier or the “promised land”, which should be the activism and role of our youth for today. The world of plurality, multiculturalism and mutual participation should be part of their vision.

They are living it in their little silos, but must establish it as a societal reality with a political system that resonates.Voluptatur sed ute dollor