Where morality meets expedience
Vanishing baby-boomers face a new world of leaders born into the political arena without a cause. It is not often that I have had the occasion to tune in to the St Paul AME Church service on a Sunday morning. Listening to the Reverend Nicholas Tweed gave me flashbacks to scenes of the Reverend Vernon Byrd during the civil rights era.
Back then the role of the Church was known, near quintessential to progress and bound the community to a moral cause. The good reverend Mr Tweed's message indeed was about morality.
I can recall the late Marion deJean once saying to me that the greatest challenge she saw as a former educator was those young students, in this world with so many choices and daily being bombarded by information, need more than anything else to have discernment. To be able to navigate and be centred on their own purpose, rather than swayed and manipulated by agendas they do not understand and over which they have no control. It is within that arena of development formerly fostered by the Church that a sense of centredness and value orientation was developed. The need to have that moral base is still needed for the developing mind to contextualise information and choices.
For the baby-boomer generation, the moral issue of their day was clear whether it was the Vietnam War, which begged and questioned why men were drafted into a war to bomb those brown-skinned people on the other side of the world for reasons unknown to them, which gave rise to the slogan and song All we are saying is give peace a chance. That move, which some termed as the “love movement”, was not without a cause; it was a concern for the value of all human life.
Added to that, was the continuing and eclipsing desegregation and civil rights movements that spawned the likes of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, Rap Brown, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X and many others, all of whom stood on a moral platform for dignity and equality.
Political, religious and civic leaders came out of that era, and it was not hard to understand their purpose. Most if not all of that generation are now deceased but leaving behind organisations as evidence of the trail they blazed.
Life is a continuous journey, and while there has been much progress in that the former military-industrial complex is not as chauvinistic as it once operated and there is now a love for diversity in society, we are yet as a society and world very much still a work in progress.
In the meantime, the baton has been handed to a new generation, which came via the bureaucracy of the organisations left by past generations who experienced and felt the brunt of a very oppressive world.
It is one thing to climb through the ranks of an organisation to arrive at the top and another to take on the virtues of society on principle fuelled by moral indignation. Manipulating the confines of committees and party processes is an entirely different game.
Mr Tweed is in that generation in between: too young to have been on the front line, but old enough to be impressed by genuine and authentic individuals who were in the trenches and whom he could see as having the proverbial nail prints in their hands.
What we as a society are asking of David Burt, the Premier, perhaps does not exist. Each of us is a product of the nurture we were given. Through no fault of his own or of the generation he represents, they were born at the edge of success and the presumption of power — the greater value they learnt was holding on to that power. For them, it comes down to what one has the power to do, not whether it is ethical, moral or in the best interests of the country.
The very injustices we fought against and from which we sought relief, they will commit as an entitlement of power. They unknowingly would attack their founders if they somehow were able to return today because, while they want to live off the legacy of the forebears, they enjoy none of their character. Today, amid a world and a country that needs true leadership, we cannot go to the desk of the old leaders because those desks are now vacant and the files are gone, along with the desk holders.
There is a need for a new call, which is “Let there arise from among you of this generation all those who would stand for what is right and forbid what is evil”. We need to be energised by the pursuit of truth and reason in every capacity of leadership. These souls must and do exist; if not, the country is doomed.
History is always being made; another day will come. And if anyone is concerned at all about legacy, they should know they are building that picture now through their actions and inaction.