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Vindicating the naysayers or the path to progress


Published: Oct 25, 2013

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The naysayers as well as the poor will be with us until the end of the world. As such, leading the resilient struggle for steadfast pursuit of one’s vision towards progress against the myopic doom and gloom of the naysayers will bring in the end, glory and victory.

Socrates, 469 BC, the founding father of ethics, teaching virtue, morality and piety to those who wanted to learn, in spite of his condemnation to drink poison for so-called “corrupting the young”, has survived for millennia; his accusers are lost in the night of incognito forever.

Jesus the Redeemer was told by the detractors of his teaching that his power to accomplish miracles could only come from Beelzebub. He was not the Son of God. The church that he has built is still solid as rock today. Yet this same church, riding on the back of the Roman Empire, became so arrogant that it could decide on life or death upon any citizen in matters that have nothing to do with spirituality or religion.

Galileo, 1564 , the scientist who discovered that the Earth turns around the sun not the other way around, was brought before the Roman Inquisition of the Catholic Church to be judged, condemned and put to death. He saved his neck by lying to the princes of the church against his own conviction and his line of research. Yet upon exiting from the court he could not stop from uttering the sentence now famous and immortal “Eppur si muove” (and yet it moves). Pope John Paul II, 350 years later, apologized for the faux-pas of the church.

Abraham Lincoln, 1809, a Republican, in his famous debates against Senator Stephen Douglas, a Democrat, on whether black people were less than human, Lincoln argued the self evident truth that the American Declaration of Independence must also be applied to blacks living then in the country. Douglas, with the support of the then world order, supported the premise that popular sovereignty of the people in one state has precedence over the issue of morality whether a negro is a human being created with all the aptitudes by the divine hand. In spite of the popularity of the thesis at that time, defended by Douglas, Abraham Lincoln’s contention survived. A black American citizen, Barack Obama, is now the accepted president of the United States.

Speaking about Obama, 1961, he has introduced a universal health care system that should upon taking effect cover everybody residing in these United States. He is facing an uphill battle from a sector of the Republican Party that will not let him win that feat. The United States, in spite of its first-class medical infrastructure, leaves some 50 million uninsured citizens susceptible to catastrophic losses in case of accident, sickness or injury. A perfect storm of budget passing, debt limit and the orderly functioning of the federal government were taken hostage in derailing the Obamacare apparatus.

The state of California, under the effective leadership of its governor Jerry Brown, is proving when the state and federal governments are working hand in hand miracles can happen. The Affordable Health Care Act, in spite of incremental corrective measures that must be entertained, is working. It even forces the system to ameliorate itself and concentrate on preventive instead of curative measures. It is a market-driven reformative concept that should appeal to the Republicans. But the naysayers will not survive in the horizon of time and the light of the future. The Affordable Health Care legislation will take root anyway.

On the other side of the Union, in New York City, another energetic leader, the outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 1942, has confronted the naysayers to promote bike to work or bike to fun in the city. Four months ago, with the support of Citibank, which incubated the program, hundreds of brand-new bicycles were offered to the public at the price of $9 per day returnable anywhere a bike bank could be found. Decried even by respectable media as another antic of a patrician mayor not in touch with the common man, the project has been highly successful.

The people of New York embraced the project with a vengeance. There is even a flourishing bike business, where entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the new fad that bicycling in the city is chic. Going further than Amsterdam and other European cities that preceded New York in the love affair with the bicycle, it is now fashionable in New York to see a whole contingent of bride, groom and guests pedaling to seal the knot for better or for worse to the church and then pedaling again to the party and to the hotel for the honeymoon.

Mayor Bloomberg can have the last laugh of I told you so, to the naysayers; pedaling for life is good for the spirit, the body and the soul.

My last anecdotal story about the naysayers is located in Haiti. There, President Michel Martelly, 1961, has twisted the hands of the diaspora in securing the modicum sum of $1.50 from all the transfers to and from that island nation. The fund, the National Education Fund (FNE), is dedicated to provide basic education to the millions of children of the country who never frequented school before. Since education is the opening door to development in any nation, the opponents of the government refuse to let him win this foray into a neglected wrong that has lasted for centuries.

As such, the Parliament has found all types of delaying tactics in passing the bill authorizing the spending of the money for the program for universal free and obligatory education (PSUGO). Eager to start the project, the government has initiated a parallel school system that needs much correction in structure and in supervision before it can become perfect.

If I have the ear of the government I would forgo reaching the mass of uneducated today to establish a free charter-type program much better than any private or public school in the country, whereby a prototype of an excellent educational system could be developed. It would serve later as a laboratory for the public school infrastructure of tomorrow when the legislature will be ready to give up and pass the law authorizing the expenditure of the fund in the general budget of the republic.

Once again, the naysayers can only lose. Education for all is not only a right; it is an obligation to pass from the ranks of the barbaric to the ranks of the civilized. It is the ambition of all human beings and should be the goal of any country aspiring to become a nation.

The naysayers may seem to be on the winning side today; history has proven as far back as Socrates in 469 BC that their strength is a fleeting one.

• Jean H. Charles LLB, MSW, JD is a syndicated columnist with caribbeannewsnow.com. He can be reached at jeanhcharles@aol.com and followed for past essays at caribbeannewsnow/haiti. Published with the permission of caribbeannewsnow.com.

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