Opinion

Call us, Cyril — we’ll back you against the state-capture crooks and cronies

Ramaphosa must use his power to cut out post-truth politics

29 December 2019 - 00:00 By JUDITH FEBRUARY

“We don’t live in the best of all possible worlds. This is a Kafkaesque time. The television sparkles with images of despicable political louts, sexual harassment reports. We cannot look away from the pictures of furious elements, hurricanes and fires, from the repetitive crowd murders by gunmen burning with rage. We are made more anxious by flickering threats of nuclear war. We observe social media’s manipulation of a credulous population, a population dividing into bitter tribal cultures. We are living through a massive shift from representative democracy to something called viral direct democracy, now cascading over us in a garbage-laden tsunami of raw data. Everything is situational, see-sawing between gut-response likes or vicious confrontations. For some, this is a heady time of brilliant technological innovation that is bringing us into an exciting new world. For others, it is the opening of a savagely difficult book without a happy ending.”

Could Annie Proulx’s acceptance speech at the National Book Foundation Awards in 2017 have been any more on point? As 2019 draws to a close the world seems in a more precarious position than ever. Polarised politics and the undermining of truth are the order of the day. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson threw down the gauntlet when he called the recent general election. Despite his vague election manifesto, his refusal to be interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Neil and his blustering and often offensive rhetoric, Johnson returns to Downing Street with a greater majority. For many finding the electoral result difficult to fathom or stomach, it will indeed be “a savagely difficult book without a happy ending”...

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