It’s been too hard living
But I’m afraid to die
Cause I don’t know what’s up there
Beyond the sky
It’s been a long
Long time coming
But I know
A change is gonna come
Oh yes, it will.
Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke
Yes we can. Yes we can. Say it like a mantra, because if you chant it enough you might actually begin to believe that it’s true.
In this cynicism time, in this hopeless time when I am tired and fed up and just about ready to give up on humanity, a source of possibility comes from the least likely of places.
Here in the shadow of the US, here where our resources are being used to fuel their excesses so that we can then afford to make them ours. Here where foreign men are given absolute power to make decisions about how we are to see ourselves. And conquistadors still think the natives will be fooled by their shiny trinkets.
And it’s not like I want to count egg in fowl bottom or anything, but someone like Obama as President of the US is almost too much for my radical heart to bear.
With little black boys falling like so many tears of so many mothers.
With Mugabe frothing at the mouth in Rome and Papa Patos smelterising on fertile soil that we could be using to feed ourselves.
Obama’s newness is enough to make you think that it really might be possible for things to start to change. And no, I don’t think that one, maybe two four-year terms is enough to repair 200 years of genocide and Manifest Destiny. One, maybe two four-year terms will not make me forget Grenada or Iraq.
And no I don’t want a black messiah. No, I don’t want another black man for us to make excuses for. I don’t want another jive-talking politician. And I don’t want to be a member of anybody’s fat-arse brigade.
I just want something else. Something different. Not another old white male fossil. And it’s not that there is anything wrong with old men per se. Jah know we need our elders now more than ever to remind us of what used to be good about Trinidad. What they were able to create in spite of enslavement and indentureship and war and oppression.
Not another big business, old money, barely literate liar like Dubya. Enough already.
In the same way, we desperately need something different here in the shadow of America. Not another old African/Indian male fossil. Spouting the same rhetoric. Bankrupt of ideas. Bankrupt of vision. Bankrupt of integrity. Making us feel that is the sum total of our potential. To become somebody else’s version of ourselves.
A society’s politicians reflect that society. So it’s opportune that Obama has arrived when he has in the way he has. Maybe there are more people in America now who want something different.
But if we are to take that same principle, what do our politicians say about us? And what does it mean about us if no brave souls with integrity and vision are willing to come forward and take a chance?
Down here in the shadow of America I have to say he’s as much my presidential candidate. All of us have to take an interest in what goes on for the next few months, because it’s as much about us as it is about them.
And I never thought I would find myself saying these words, but this is one time when we should be following America. This is one wave to become caught up in. This is one wave I want to arrive at our shores and wash away the apathy and the lack of political substance.
To relieve us of our extreme boredom with what passes as leadership in the Lower House. A bunch of bepping kicksers who have nothing new to contribute.
Yes we can too. We too can change our politics. We too can get rid of the old guard. Even if the new guard is to make mistakes.
Chant it like a mantra. Chant it until you too start to believe.