Thu | Oct 19, 2017

JaRistotle’s Jottings | The social cost of dibbi-dibbi politics

Published:Thursday | October 12, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The much-publicised video of a machete-wielding mother walloping her daughter has drawn much ire from many quarters, as well as generated some interesting points of view. At the very least, the incident has highlighted, yet again, the dire circumstances of many within our society; of people caught in the grip of poverty and social decay. I daresay the mother in question is just as much the victim as she is the ogre, and while I don't condone her actions, I empathise.

We are a society of conflicting personas, ranging from the well-to-do to the extremely poor. It is worth noting that many of our well-to-dos often have a passing acquaintance with the social graces and moral conduct that we would expect from the more fortunate and educated. With regard to the lower-income strata of society, many people are disinterested in what is going on in the country and don't give a damn about other people; if there is nothing in it for them, to hell with it.

So what is responsible for this state of affairs? Clearly, it is not merely one's circumstances, as the well-to-do so often prove.

Listen to our politicians as they scurry to secure votes for themselves and their party. They spend more time vilifying the opposing candidates rather than selling themselves as fit and proper persons capable of getting the job done. Politicians are public figures who wield enormous influence over the society. Irresponsible words and actions a la politics inevitably have dire consequences, especially when their supporters follow suit, not only in terms of vilifying opposing supporters, but by taking matters further, often to the point of violence and death.

If some of these politicians and their families were to experience these consequences first-hand and feel the people's pain, perhaps they would desist in their vitriol.

 

MANY HAVE LOST HOPE

 

When people see their environment falling apart around them, they naturally expect that solutions will be provided by the political leadership. But thanks to dibbi-dibbi politics, abysmal conditions are commonplace in many communities, with basic amenities such as gainful employment, garbage collection and sanitation, piped water and electricity being fleeting illusions. Many people have lost hope. Apathy is their norm, the social fabric having worn thin.

When parents can't feed their families or send their children to school, the dissolution of those families begins, oftentimes resulting in the disappearance of fathers. Uneducated and unemployed mothers are forced to raise children on their own. Any opportunity for getting money, food or protection is readily seized; odd jobs, selling of votes, doing favours for political handouts, resorting to crime, prostitution - survival, plain and simple, whether man, woman or pickney.

How can we reasonably expect that individuals living in such dire circumstances are going to adapt to societal norms and laws that have been established by people who have never known hunger and despair? Such persons have become immune to social niceties and graces. They are often incapable of reason and rationale; if things are not going their way, they readily resort to means which are tried, tested and proven: cloth-filled or anatomy-related language, box-down, kick-down, lick-down or worse, whatever it takes. Do unto others before others do unto you is an everyday lesson for children trapped in these circumstances.

These symptoms of social decay extend from the broken homes and squalid communities into our schools and the wider public domain. Senseless student-on-student violence has forced us to pursue the implementation of metal detectors in schools. Lewd and crude dancehall lyrics, often promoting violence and denouncing informers, have become enshrined in the social fabric of society and played out in real life. The Vybz are frightening.

We are in a crisis, the result of decades of disregard for many of the welfare issues which are fundamental to the social fabric of our society. Thanks to dibbi-dibbi politics, too many people living in dire circumstances, having given up hope for a better day, and are now so focused on basic survival that they are incapable of and uninterested in living their lives in a manner which complements societal norms. Their leaders have failed them, society has failed them, to hell with society.

This is the opportunity cost of dibbi-dibbi politics, which is bankrupting the country financially and morally.