Dear Mr. Romney,
According to a number of passages in the Bible, parents can expect their children to suffer because of mummy and daddy’s sins.
This “sin now, pay later” (approximately) pattern of punishment is set out in warnings like this one: “The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Numbers 14:18, English Standard Version)
Maybe such passages of scripture were in the back of my head around 2000 - the year my father Geoffrey Campbell, died. About that time, it occurred to me that I might be paying for da’ah’s sins.
But thoughts of my da’ah’s dastardly deeds were not brought on by his death, Mr. Romney. His passing only brought sadness (a sadness that I don’t expect to ever get over fully).
The idea that I had unwittingly inherited a holy, hell-fire hot hire-purchase plan of some kind from my father occurred to me before his death, when I locked horns with persons associated with Barbados’ Democratic Labour Party (DLP) – the party that da’ah had served dutifully for most of his adult life.
It was when I found myself the object of the wrath of Aaron “Buddy” Larrier, David Comissiong, Margaret Gill and others who, like my father, had put distance between themselves and the DLP by aligning themselves (openly or secretly, formally or informally) with the rival Barbados Labour Party (BLP) that I first found myself wondering if da’ah had offended these and other politicians, academics, business people or journalists in some way, and they were taking their revenge on me.
I thought about the patent ill-will of prominent journalist Al Gilkes – who, while acting as the master of ceremonies at the inaugural Caribbean Craft Market opening ceremony “accidentally” failed to see my name on the list of performers he had been given to introduce.
I recount how I overcame Gilkes’ craftiness in my article “Oracle Octopus for Barbados."
Also mentioned in that article, is a March 14, 2002 on-air attack by Gilkes’ Starcom news network colleague David Ellis, which led me to wonder if his enmity was also motivated to by some failing of my father.
Ellis – probably emboldened by malicious misinformation being propagated by fellow poets Margaret Gill (also a former girlfriend) and Charmaine “Nailah Imojah” Gill - scornfully interrupted my attempt to publicly distance myself from an “African Diaspora” conference that was to be held in Barbados later that year.
Comissiong, then the Director of the Barbados Government Commission for Pan African Affairs (BGCPAA), and Larrier, (who had recently been promoted to the position of Project Officer at the BGPAA, having served only as a messenger until then) were instrumental in the staging of that conference.
Ellis sought to shrewdly shred and savage my reputation and the bona fides of my organization Intelek International by a line of questioning he apparently felt was certain to undermine my credibility.
“Intelek International? Could you please tell me what that means? Or am I not intelligent enough to understand it?” he said (or words to that effect).
“How many members are in your organization?” he continued, baiting me.
To make a long story short, Mr. Romney, having answered these questions with an honesty and humility that Mr. Ellis had clearly not expected, he conceded his ill-informed impertinence, saying “I bow to you, sir."
Ellis is in some ways a tragic figure, really. Perhaps he was rehearsing for an anticipated knighthood from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Perhaps he has aspirations of occupying a similar place in the “popular imagination” of Barbadians as Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and Edward “Kamau” Brathwaite – the former a “mate” of Democratic U.S. senator and former presidential candidate, John Kerry.
Or was it former Vice President and would-be Electoral College reformer Al Gore’s name that Sir Hilary dropped as he prefaced a public lecture?
The tragedy of Sir Hilary, Brathwaite, Ellis, Gill and other Barbadian elites, is their persistent confusion of things imagined with reality.
I am not without sympathy: this confusion of image with reality afflicts “all o we” – as Bajans would say.
But why am I telling you all of this, Mr. Romney?
It is because I think you may now be asking yourself similar questions about ancestral sins, the confusion of appearances and reality and related themes, as you struggle to come to terms with the “betrayal” that saw your unkind and, frankly, grotesquely ill-informed, simplistic, reductionist criticisms of Americans on benefits leaked to the American public and the international community.
I think you may be tallying possible unpaid debts: wondering if punishment for the “sins of the fathers” is being visited on your business relationship bank accounts – to use a metaphor popularized by business guru Steven Covey.
Well, sir, I want to tell you that such tally banking will do little to correct the damage that the leaking of your bigoted criticisms did to your presidential campaign strategy.
Your only hope, as I see it, is to repent of your own oversights, slights and other sins.
Change has come to America, Mr. Romney. You must change your outlook radically, if you are to make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).
Only by staring long and hard into your mirror, can you identify and correct the Republican reductionist folly that has led you to believe the slanders and lies about the “haves” and “have nots” to which you clearly subscribe.
I don’t want you to make deluded David Ellis’ error: believing Margaret Gill’s market-guilt-like, mammon-minding fundamentalist (feminist) lies.
Barack Obama’s race to retain the presidency of the United States of America deserves a good fight. Americans deserve a full throttle, full-bodied election 2012 battle. Not a prissy-bottled election lite.
It is a robust democracy - for which the most enlightened of the Founding Fathers fought - that will suffer most, if your campaign is sabotaged by David Comissiong-like tunnel vision or Buddy Larrier-esque lavish ideological (racial) fervour but lack of light.
If you are to secure the votes you need from the Electoral College, you must address the gaping holes in your knowledge of your support base – pledged and unpledged.
Had you no idea that your bank bailing friend Tim Pawlenty was a “faithless elector”?
Alas his pledge to tell Wall Street “get your snout out of the trough just like everybody else” now just seems a prelude to him helping Talibankers get their snouts into public revenues a little deeper.
And your running mate, would-be Vice President Paul Ryan, has not really served you much better, calling you “obviously inarticulate." Really!
That claim, quite frankly, amounts to little more than a gratuitous insult to the intelligence of the American public – and the intelligence of keenly observing global citizens.
For one thing, it ignores the circumstances in which your stereo-typing characterization of persons on benefits came to your fellow Americans’ attention.
Your bigoted comments were not intended for public consumption. They were secretly recorded.
It wasn’t an “obviously inarticulate” Mr. Romney in that video, was it?
No, it was Mr. Romney “at home” -- an obviously relaxed Mittens, addressing his corporate support base.
The only question in my mind, is whether or not you were playing to that audience – doing the flip-flopping for which you are known - or whether you are actually such a spiritually bereft bigot.
I’d like to think the former. The account of you shedding tears when you heard the news of blacks advancement to the Mormon priesthood certainly suggests a sensitivity to the revelation of God in all humans.
But then there’s not much comfort in the thought that your balls “swing either way” – to use a cricketing analogy.
You could learn a few things from former Barbadian Deputy Prime Minister, Dame Antoinette "Billie" Miller: as our compatriot crooner Red Plastic Bag put it, when they are pitched, her balls stay.
The most highly prized parenting establishes roots but also gives wings (which is different from "swings").
It is possible that if George W Bush had learned that - if he had not rooted his presidency as inflexibly as he had to his father's legacy - many now dead Americans and Iraqis would still be alive.
Invariably, the dreams we take from our fathers and mothers have to be rationalized – some parts embraced, some repudiated.
In one passage the Bible warns that we can't serve God and mammon, Mr. Romney.
In another it advises us to befriend the material fiend.
There is a delicate, dare I say, "mathematical" balancing to be learned here. And that is as true for Mormons' dreams and realities as it is for Muslims'.
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