T&T’s contingent of local athletes have been struggling to make it through Olympic qualifiers in Rio (and facing a ridiculous amount of criticism from “fans” who fail to recognize local athletes until they appear on an international stage), but there’s a squad right here at home who could easily snag gold, silver and bronze medals, if only the Olympics hosted a Mental Gymnastics event.
These specialists in Missing the Point generally lie dormant in local society until a controversial issue arises, at which point, they appear to spout nonsense and derail the conversation, until – they hope – rational citizens surrender in exasperation.
The shapes into which these elite mental athletes contort themselves to present arguments that are always completely beside the point would be impressive if they weren’t actively propping up the status quo suffocating this society.
Most recently, the BS Brigade flipped into action in response to the backlash that followed news that Colonial Fire & General Insurance Company Limited (COLFIRE) attempted to police an employee’s hair follicles.
Many of us were dismayed to be confronted with evidence of the company living up to the Colonial portion of its acronym. Others just could not move past the fact that an employee had dared to publicly publish a letter addressed to him.
Never mind that the letter wasn’t marked “Confidential”. Never mind that it revealed disturbing things about a company recently rescued from the consequences of its own mismanagement by public funds. What they wanted to know was: How DARE he post it on social media?
One subset of this group did pause to consider the content of the letter, but only long enough to declare the recipient to be deserving of a sacking for his refusal to submit. They saw no problem with a company dictating the texture of an employee’s hair and saw in his defiance the root of the lawlessness which plagues society. (For, surely that whole ugly LifeSport fiasco began with an unruly mop of hair.)
Even as indications of bias (such as a photo which revealed that last year’s agent of the year not only had similar taste in haircuts but a gold tooth to boot) began to appear, these individuals employed their startling mental flexibility to declare that those upset about COLFIRE’s actions were simply playing the race card. (Because everyone knows textures and tones are mutually exclusive.)
Just when we thought we’d witnessed the limits of their contortions, a second letter emerged, indicating that COLFIRE is as much of a stickler for dictating employees’ medical leave entitlements as it is for dictating the way their hair should grow. The Silly Squad was not discouraged. This time, they tumbled into threads shouting as loudly as they could about proper policies for taking sick leave while ignoring proper policies for reprimanding employees.
When confronted with the gaping chasms in their arguments, they did as they always do: folded themselves into a ball and rolled away.
Now, this could all be fun and games (there’s nothing wrong with healthy discourse – if a bit of logic is involved) but for the fact that all these efforts to derail important conversations are nothing more than flailing attempts to maintain the status quo. Whether these world champion mental gymnasts realize it or not, they are enabling the problems eating away at T&T (i.e. corruption, injustice, inequity, just to name a few) by using their voices and energy to defend the nonsense rather than tear it down.
As much as I enjoy poking holes in flawed arguments, I’m going to take a different tack for a change. I’m going to make a helpful suggestion for us all:
How about, instead of wasting so much time arguing inanities online, we take a hard look at T&T and decide what we’re really willing to do to get this place together?
If that sounds daunting, let’s start with a simple question: why? As in, instead of waxing poetic about the way things are and always have been, ask yourself why they are that way. Then ask yourself why you’ve been ok with them.
Maybe, if we all spend a little time doing a little less talking and a little more thinking, we could actually get moving to make this country a comfortable place for everyone.
Or, you know, we could keep shooting for those gold, silver and bronze medals in obliviousness. As things stand, T&T is the favorite for going absolutely nowhere fast.