Editorial — 20 July 2019
Negative stimulus from US might prick our leaders to action

We are familiar with the saying that there is too much good in the worst of us, and the saying that every dark cloud has a silver lining, and the saying that it’s an ill wind that blows no good. These sayings, the first two especially, mean that we can always find something positive in a negative experience.

The present president of the United States of America is giving us many negative experiences and we ought to be able to extract something from his barbs. You would be ignorant if you don’t realize that President Trump does not respect us. We have to take his words as a challenge. In Belize, we shouldn’t need this kind of stimulus to make us strive for excellence, but thus far there hasn’t been anything that has spurred our leaders to be great for our country.

Trump has been called a racist. It is on record how he has treated the first non-white president of the USA, Barack Obama. During Obama’s two terms in office, Mr. Trump harassed him with the accusation that he was not born in the USA. Mr. Trump has put great effort into repealing the legislation for Mr. Obama’s signature health care program. Recently, Mr. Trump revoked the nuclear deal Mr. Obama led the world to sign with Iran. Trump has made it his business to stomp on the achievements of his predecessor, and the world thinks he does so because the epidermis of his predecessor has considerable melanin.

The US House Speaker, Mrs. Nancy Pelosi, a white woman, recently said that everyone knows that his campaign chant, “Make America Great Again”, really means, “Make America White Again.” It has been forecasted that by 2050 people of color will outnumber white folk in the USA. Pelosi said that the Trump administration wants a citizenship question on their census questionnaire to scare persons who are in the US illegally, so they hide from the census takers.

Mr. Trump recently told four non-white US Congresswomen, one of whom was born outside of the US, that they used anti-Semitic language, and that they should go and fix the governments in the crime-infested countries where they came from, instead of telling the great United States how to run its business. His Republican Party has found ways to soften his harsh language, but many prominent leaders of the Jewish community in the US have condemned his words.

It is not impossible that Mr. Trump really, really hates people of color. He hobnobs with rich and famous black people, but that doesn’t say anything. Most Belizeans living in the USA dislike him because they believe he is racist, and they don’t like his immigration policy.

We at home who are being told that our country is shoddy shouldn’t be content with what he is saying, and we should respond. We are being shamed, and it is possible that that is the kind of stimulus that some of our leaders need. Heaven knows, heaven has seen that our present political leaders do not have an innate ambition to make us a great country. They do not exhibit sufficient desire to do the right thing for us. If they did they could never coin phrases such as “party first”, and then live by that creed.

The Americans are unfair to us and we know that won’t change. In their minds they are really superior to us; in their minds they are divinely gifted, and we aren’t. They believe they are called to be rulers, that it is their manifest destiny. The website, History.com, says they coined the term “Manifest Destiny” for themselves in 1845, and that philosophy holds that they are destined by God “to expand [their] dominion and spread democracy and capitalism across the entire North American continent.” We know they have expanded that philosophy to include everything south of the Rio Grande, making us well in their sphere.

Americans are proud; they like to look good, they like to win at sports and they like for their citizens to go abroad to win wealth for their greater glory. The Sanctuary Bay scam has made them look very bad (us too), and this could explain a recent press release from the US Embassy asking us to go easy on our leaders for their presumed involvement/non-involvement in the scandal. They are, among other things, embarrassed.

Americans are supposed to go into the rest of the Americas and invest in bananas and citrus and pineapples, and oil too; we are to get employment, at hourly rates that are standard in our region, and they are to get the profits in their banks, and the taxes. That’s their blueprint, and then along comes the boys at Sanctuary Bay who duped innocent American investors and some time later it is discovered that there was little employment, the investors are out of pocket with little to show for what they spent, and the boys have creamed off.

The Americans are unfair to us and they have us on our heels with their insistence that we copy their drug laws. Cocaine and marijuana are prohibited drugs in our country, with cocaine being absolutely prohibited, and marijuana sales and handling of amounts over ten grams being in that same category. Prohibition has driven the value of these commodities to the stratosphere and this has resulted in corruption in our security services, and our government. Prohibition has also spiked violent crimes, especially murder.

The Americans encouraged Guatemala with their unfounded claim. Originally their game was to destabilize the British in the Americas, but they never let up when we took over. They orchestrated the Webster’s Proposals (1968), and the Heads of Agreement (1981). One of their leaders, Jimmy Carter, had some compassion for people outside their borders and it was after he joined the rest of the world in supporting Belize that we got our independence, with our territory intact.

They blocked our path when we tried to become more productive in agriculture. There was never any doubt that we were pro-USA, but when our government introduced farmers’ cooperatives, they said we were turning to communism. We are a small country and we desperately needed to pool our limited resources, and to have our government subsidize farm infrastructure such as drains and roads, so we could produce grains and poultry and pigs competitively.

We contribute to our failure with weak government structures that make it easy for our political leaders to do wrong to us. There is impunity for those in high places when they commit crimes. We contribute to our failure with libel laws that shield political leaders from criticism. We contribute to our failure when we refuse to deal with corruption in government.

The political party in power at this time promised that if we voted them into government they would deliver on the systems that would improve our democracy. They took us for a ride. That is not their only failure. It is critical for us to put in place stern structures to curb natural temptation, but what is even more critical is that we have the desire to see Belize excel as a nation.

The fact is that we are too much of what the sitting US president is saying about us, and we can blame the Americans for being unfair, but that won’t ever solve our problems.

It is a given in sports that your opponent will produce their best effort if you say something derogatory about them. Mr. Trump has said that people south of the Rio Grande are living in sh—hole countries. Our leaders, if they have pride, love of country, ought to get it. Belizeans are as good as any in the world, but we are stuck in mediocrity because our leaders don’t put our country first.

It is a bad thing when you are not filled with zeal, fired up to see your people do great things. It is terrible when you are so lukewarm about your nation you have no response to a challenge. Hopefully the pricks from Mr. Trump will cause an awakening in our leaders.

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Deshawn Swasey

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