Letters & Opinion

Egregious Irrisponsibility

By Dr Velon John

“The fatal failings of the “American” should have alerted us or put us on the alert. That does not seem to be the case. And so, a decision was made on our behalf and with our connivance and complicity to open our borders to the “American”. We did not object nor did we demonstrate.”

The United States of America at this time is the epicentre of the Covid-19 scourge. It has approximately 3.5 million of the confirmed cases and in conjunction therewith and as a consequence thereof has regressed into a death ascending spiral of 136,000 persons.

With borders remaining open to American travellers as cases continue an upward trend in the U.S., is St Lucia setting itself up for a Covid catastrophe?

The U.S. is perhaps the wealthiest country in the world and considered one of the most developed and technologically advanced. But is it the most advanced civilisation on this planet? It is being whispered that China is the force to be reckoned with and on a multiplicity of levels.

Despite its laudable achievements in the area of health in particular, this country is now the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic. Globally, it is now number one. A dubious distinction and achievement that indicates to me that there is an alarming flaw in the national psyche and characterological composition of the “American”. And that composition embraces the elements of racism, hedonism, materialism and individualism that manifest themselves and grotesquely so in the personal conduct and policy postures of that persona. In its singularity the collectivity is reflected and there one discerns flaws and cracks that betray the salubrious aspirations of an emerging and struggling morality. And it is that qualified morality and modus vivendi that have made that country so vulnerable in the face of Covid-19.

Why has the mighty USA been unable to deal with the Covid onslaught? Lesser endowed countries have attained varying measures of success in relation to the containment of this pandemic. Why is the mighty US failing? A country that is looked up to by many countries and peoples?  It is an admired global power, but for what? The national image projected is that of a philanthropic, democratic society. It purports to define itself as the saviour of itself and of the world. But where is that saving grace in relation to Covid-19? What is it that Covid has revealed about the heart and soul of the “American”?  Where are the values that are being espoused and extolled?  A country reeling from Covid: a country virtually on its knees. What is the reality and why? Paradoxically, its existential posture is in some measure predicated on love. But then love is personal, individual and particular; and societally does it suffice?  A corollary of love is charity and the two purport to be the raison d’etre and elan vitae of this society’s existence. Does that suffice? It does not and that is where the fundamental crack and flaws lie. And how many have fallen into that crack of self-deception: an existential void. Therein lies the vulnerability of the “American”.

Where is the love… where is the charity? They are both present. The “American” is revelling in a cauldron of love and charity but to the exclusion of that which is indispensable for human civilisation. And that is justice. The “American is confusing and equating love and charity with justice, and that is a fundamental error that inimically and deleteriously strike at the heart and soul of the “American”. And so, in its putrid nudity Covid-19 is exposing the absence of justice: that core value that does not define the psyche of the “American”.

On a very human level and in its plurality the greatest of all values is justice in its teleological universality; and that is why the notion of Heaven and Hell is inextricably and eschatologically linked with it. Love on the other hand and in its genesis is celestial/spiritual and hence the reason this enigma, “how can a finite being in a finite situation, commit a finite act with finite deliberateness and deserve infinite punishment in the realm of human affairs loses its logical perplexity. Love in its inherent and numinous manifestation permeates the behavioural incidents that constitute the living processes and actions of homo sapiens. As has been said, we are both sinners and saints and that is the central ambiguity of the human condition. And so instead of accepting the two, the “American” is endeavouring to resolve the two as opposites and which is indeed a conceptual error.

At this juncture you, my dear reader, may now posit the question that lies in abeyance in the recesses of your inquiring mind. What is the nexus between the catastrophe of Covid-19 and “Egregious Irresponsibility”? One must then allude to the hereinbefore conditions of racism, hedonism, materialism and individualism

and juxtaposing these to the value of justice which is qualified and varied in its limited absence in the “American”. And so whatever the exalted pronouncement and declarations that he makes in his historical march through time there is a behavioural disjunction and attitudinal dissonance that make him a threat to thegeneralised societal other. And we here in Saint Lucia are part of that other.

That is the threat that brings into disturbing and disconcerting focus the opening of our borders to the “American” at this time of Covid. One hundred and fifty thousand of the “American” have effected their terrestrial demise. Their death for the greater part could have been avoided or prevented. Money, other resources, and intellect, did not prevent that calamity, that tragedy… and why?  Deaths that occurred within their borders, their homes, their castles and hospitals, their cities, their towns and villages. So many fell into their own characterological crack, abyss, lacunae by their own doings and undoings… a crack with its own unappreciated suicidal propensity has been devastating.

We on this paradise of an island do not seem to be alarmed when we should be. We have become blinded by our secular, mundane concerns and desires and have lost sight of that which should be of intrinsic value to us as Lucians. The fatal failings of the “American” should have alerted us or put us on the alert. That does not seem to be the case. And so, a decision was made on our behalf and with our connivance and complicity to open our borders to the “American”. We did not object nor did we demonstrate.

Will we with the effluxion of time be reaping the whirlwind?

In all of this I see Egregious Irresponsibility.

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