It is quite depressing to reflect on the journey that the Republican Party has taken since the days of the American Civil War. It was once the party of Abraham Lincoln that ended slavery in the United States. Today it is the party of Donald Trump and uses anger, fear, conspiracy theories and fake news to whip up the emotions of a section of society that is shrinking and getting more desperate by the day.
In the Bahamas, in a much shorter period of time, the Progressive Liberal Party has trodden a similar road. The party of independence and equality for all, has become the party of spreading suspicion, misinformation and anonymous online attacks. It’s base of support is becoming older and less numerous, and the party can only seem to recruit new, younger supporters by taking a page out of Mr. Trump’s playbook. Constantly attacking the emergency orders, claiming lockdowns were unnecessary and just a scheme to stop PLP’s from gathering, spreading conspiracy theories in the public mind, feeding fears to cause people not to take life-saving vaccines, and engaging in merciless personal attacks on their enemies, are all the order of the day.
The main difference is that whereas Mr. Trump and his followers seem proud of their tactics, the PLP wants to have its cake and eat it too. The leaders of the party are all vaccinated, they all speak in public in a manner that is fairly reasonable and calm. It is behind the scenes that the party’s anonymous attack machine has been tireless in its efforts to spread confusion, fake news, and outright lies about the vaccines and the ongoing efforts to safeguard public health. And now, when it comes out that the Bahamas is near the bottom of a list of how well countries have fought COVID 19, those same PLP trolls come out of the woodwork to call the FNM government a failure, when it was them who caused it in the first place!
Whatever else you may say about them, the FNM government and Prime Minister Hubert Minnis did everything it was possible to do to keep the public safe and to control the spread of this deadly disease. The fact that certain sectors of the public fought them all the way, disobeyed emergency orders and refused to take the vaccine, while being encouraged with lies and hysteria by political operatives, is not the government’s fault.
When I look at today’s PLP, I don’t see a better choice for the Bahamian people anymore. I see a group of power hungry people willing to spread chaos and confusion in order to get their way, no matter who suffers as a result. The PLP used to be about people. Now it is just about winning at all costs.