This morning life will resume without the opiates of gold medal spin and 50th anniversary of Independence hype.
Unfortunately, the familiar unpleasant realities, which have plagued us live and direct for the second 25 of the first 50 years of Independence, steadfastly remain un-mitigated by any effective civic or political response. There are unmoving clouds of trouble over sweet T&T. No one living in the real world could seriously resist the conclusion that sweet T&T has morphed into a sweet and sour dish.
Well within the first 25 years of Independence the society had opened up and much of the colonial stratification had been demolished. This positive remains diluted by stubborn prejudices. In addition, there are neuroses that are common to post-colonial societies, which have not been cured.
I have deliberately chosen the second 25 years to locate the start of our decline because that co-incides with 1987. That year opened with the benefit of an important outcome, but one which sadly began unravelling within that same year and, three years later, suffered the extreme setback of the attempted coup of July 1990.
The important outcome was of course the formation of a government by a party other than the PNM in December 1986. This was the triumph of our first peaceful and widely supported electoral change of government subsequent to Independence. The PNM had ruled for 30 years, since 1956 when we were still a colony but had growing degrees of internal self-government.
Ultimately the opportunities presented by the 1986 electoral change were recklessly squandered. It is strongly arguable that the destruction of those opportunities was a major catalyst for decline.
The 1986 electoral change was nevertheless a triumph because the political experience of many newly independent nations set loose from colonial Britain has been chequered. It is also to our credit that we have peacefully changed governments more than once despite the appalling use of race by politicians of all stripes as political blandishments.
Regrettably, the opportunities presented by the May 2010 electoral change are being as equally recklessly squandered as those arising out of December 1986, with the likely result of further decline in our level of civilisation.
Throughout the political dysfunction we have practised tolerance well. The vast majority of our citizens desire a degree of unity sufficient to keep the country as a model of relative peace and stability despite its multi-racial composition, a composition that has led to disastrous events elsewhere among some other newly independent nations.
Two Saturdays ago, after one of the liveliest performances on the occasion of the Woodbrook Pan Parade, bp Renegades moved away from Adam Smith Square playing "All Ah We Is One Family" in response to which the crowd in the street burst into accompanying song. This was an unforgettable moment. It was a spontaneous hymn to unity.
The politicians also use perceived class to divide us. In relation to the fostering of division by class, the loose talk pitting Westmoorings and hypothetical Eastmoorings against each other is typical of the kind of insidious language which the politicians use.
Despite our tolerance, the politicians' use of race and class has nevertheless hurt us and influenced political outcomes.
In this society there is a widespread belief that there is a lack of objective justice and that the practice of using a contact to obtain the simplest thing is common. There is an equally widespread belief, as well as significant evidence, that there is unrelenting corruption.
There is therefore fertile ground for persuading voters that a kindred group, regardless of its merits, will work to their advantage. However, the country has been so badly run, regardless of who is in power, that experience is teaching us differently from what the rabid politicians seek to inculcate.
Many no longer believe that advancement and protection are irrevocably linked to kindred groups. That is why our positive evolution of tolerance of different creeds and races has been enhanced by the fact that we now have permanently marginal seats in the House of Representatives.
These may be won or lost according to the mood of floating voters, newly unhinged from an automatic submission to tribal voting patterns.
We start the march to the next Independence milestone with the very substantial credit of workable harmony notwithstanding the diversity of our population.
However, our tolerance has another dimension. We are tolerant of many forms of anti-social behavior. We also shrug off serious dysfunction in the public leadership sector without demanding real change. As a result many bad precedents and ill-disciplined norms have been set thereby permitting our politicians to weasel out of wrongdoing by saying the other side did it too.
This morning after the 50th festivities, ignoring the familiar rants against the media and the so-called naysayers, which the Partnership government is spewing in offensive language identical to that of its predecessor PNM, we have some serious and urgent thinking to do.