I HAVE been thinking a lot lately about public discourse, the things that drive it, the changes that come out of it and how, too often, it seems, as if we are a country of talkers rather than doers.We hopscotch around every major issue, staying on it just long enough for something more interesting, or something that gains more traction, to come along. I am not saying that speaking out or calling a spade a spade is not an integral part of change and raising awareness on certain social ills, government policies and blunders, because it is. But what happens when sparse talks fail? And how do we keep the pressure up on something that the majority have already commented upon and moved on from?
Ours has been a society — from our president, politicians and everyone down the line — of talkers rather than doers. How else do we explain away the fact that despite promises that marijuana would be decriminalised so that youths found with small amounts can stop going to jail, and that those belonging to the LBGT group will no longer have a law which discriminates against them, the status quo still remains, with no clear movement towards changing it?
What talking does is make us feel as if we are making progress, while actually leaving us at a standstill on actual changes.
We, in fact, too often miss the second part of the equation, the part which requires us to come out of our shells of being ‘social media warriors’ and begin to stand up for the things we know should not be, yet twiddle our thumbs and continue to allow it, merely because that was how it has always been.
I have realised that, for the most part, I am a part of the problem; I have been content to sit on the sidelines, talk and try to point people in the right direction, shaking my head and doing nothing else when they fail to pick up the mantle.
I have contributed, like so many of you, to the cyclical inactivity on issues which need urgent attention, often forgetting the old adage, “actions speak louder than words” in the process.
So, I have decided to come out of my comfort zone, and I am currently trying to become a “doer”, because my individual rantings, much like others, honestly do not make much of a difference in themselves.
For example, let’s address Guyana and it’s archaic, out-of-place dress code for so many government buildings and institutions.
It is something which has hampered men and women over decades from going about their respective business, but we have become so conditioned to believe that the government should dictate what one wears and say who is appropriately attired that we hardly even see the issue with it anymore, with some of us even diligently defending it.
I always laugh whenever someone says we are no longer a colonised people or something to that effect, because there is more to freedom than just being technically free. If your mind is still what your colonisers conditioned it to be, then who’s to say anything has substantially changed?
It is for this desire to be free and no longer be a talker that myself along with others are organising a protest against Guyana’s dress code. Whether it will make a difference or not is unclear, but what I do know is that it is time to get off of the sidelines and become active in trying to bring about change.
In a country filled with conventional political cronyism, corruption and colonialised mentalities which work to upend and infringe on freedoms allowed to everyone, it is becoming increasingly clear the role that acting plays in keeping people on their toes. Words are good, yes, but too often they are merely spoken to make the speaker feel good that they have contributed, which is simply giving lip service to a cause, without actually trying to make a change.