It’s one of those sayings that rings true for me as I am one of those homo sapiens who doesn’t deal well with being caught off guard. I overthink, analyze a situation to bits and I hate surprises. More and more I listen and watch the news and ask myself: “Self, how much more of these types of stories can i take?” I barely got over that pore-raising murder of Dana Seetahal, not to mention the “pace” of the investigation. Then there was man forgetting baby in the car, Volney changing his mind, criminality surrounding Lifesport programme, a murder here, a murder there, corruption and cocaine video, thousand-man/woman march and now another video which (allegedly) shows the Honourable Minister of Sport locked in hotel room 201 with narcotics and chicks.
It is since that last video mentioned that my Son-Son is beginning to think that news is a form of entertainment as most nights there is something to drop the jaw as if we’re watching a summer tentpole movie. I am actually considering limiting his viewing which is incredibly sad yet I understand that at the same time he needs to be aware of what it going on. More and more though I need to keep explaining and in some cases correcting, justifying and reasoning. It’s as though I’m writing General Paper all over again.
I’ve realized that I have had to do the same at work many times when discussing current affairs and politics with students. Interestingly most of them see politicians as liars and thieves, opinions which I’m sure have been influenced by parents on both sides of the political divide. I try to encourage them and give examples of historical, political figures both at home and abroad, but it is becoming more and more difficult to marry that into present circumstances. I’ve reached the point where I tell students to ensure that their moral compass is pointing in the right direction and they will know right and wrong once they follow wise counsel and feel it in their gut.
Sadly though I teach in an area where marijuana is heavily cultivated and “yes it is illegal but only when you get caught.” Getting money is priority number one, education is priority number two. It is not a new phenomenon, impacting generation after generation and deeply vested into the culture of the community. So imagine on one hand you are trying your best to influence students to put dong de weed, don’t do what your parents did, find a future for yourself…..and on the other hand we have Mr. Minister (allegedly) rolling and boasting in a hotel room, filled with girls….the good life….the kinda life my students crave. How do I justify that to them? Especially as he has been endorsed and supported explicitly by the Ministry of Communications and implicitly by the Prime Minister? What does the Minister of Education have to say on how this impacts primary and secondary school children? These children are the ones who are going to take the reins, the ones who people talk about when they complain: ‘We need new blood!’ Should I go ahead and tell them “well yeah, go ahead once you don’t get caught but if you do, make sure and deny, deny, deny and of course, ensure that you blame somebody else” (read: Rowley)
I dunno nah, I don’t want to believe that Trinidad and Tobago is going to hell in a handbasket but it’s hard when the evidence is stacked against me. I feel like I have to fight but it is hard not to feel disenchanted! In the meantime, along with other like-minded citizens who are not easily gaslit, I will continue to do what I must…keep hoping and keeping those expectations where they should be.