O Judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts And men have lost their reason. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
Once more we are on the verge of a General Election. There is tremendous excitement as citizens prepare to go to the polls. There has been much antagonism manifested and expressed by both political parties. Charges of moral and political impropriety have been made against the ruling party. The party in opposition has endeavoured to reorganize and rejuvenate itself. Both political parties say that they are ready.
There is nothing as attractive as a good, clean fight. I have watched many boxing matches, which I have enjoyed. I have admired the skill which has been displayed by two well-trained and well-prepared contestants. I have mentally relived the famous heavyweight boxing champion match between George Foreman and Muhammed Ali. I have shared the conviction of Muhammed Ali after the fight, "I am the Master of the Science of Boxing."
When I was in the army, one day two soldiers got into a fight. Standing by were myself, a few fellow soldiers, white and black. A white soldier and a black soldier, Jackson, were the contestants. Among us was Hope, a black college graduate, a disciplined young man. As soon as the fight began, Hope shouted out to Jackson: "Fight him fair, Jack!" In little time, Jackson had the white soldier pinned to the ground, and, to our astonishment, without firing a single punch, he got up and let the white soldier go free. it was a very crucial occasion, because at that time there was tremendous conflict between Whites and Blacks in the U.S.A., as Blacks struggled for their civil rights.
In Dominica, the political electioneering campaign has taken the form of a national battle. Each political party strives to overcome the other by all means possible. There is nothing that seems more desirable than success at the polls. It appears to be worthy of any imaginable sacrifice.
In itself, this is not bad. To win is not an evil deed. The great need, however, is to win according to the rules. What we need is a good, clean fight.
Alas, this ideal is far from the hearts of many men and women at this time in Dominica. Their watchword appears to be: "Win at all costs" and " The end justifies means."
With the announcement of the date of General Election on November 5, 2014, the mood of the nation has radically changed. If all we experienced was national displays of red and blue, bill boards, slogans, manifestos and frequent rallies and speeches, there would not be too much to attract great concern.
However, the election campaign has let loose animal instincts in both the people and their leaders. People are losing their sense of balance. And there is much to provoke righteous anger.
Bill boards of the Labour Party have been defaced by unknown persons. Vandalism must always be regretted. There is no room for such activity among civilized and Christian people.
Government insists that it cannot meet the demands for increase pay from Public Servants and the Police. Yet, there is evidence that people are being paid to determine how they cast their vote. And, alas, it is reported that some of that money is falling into the hands of drug addicts! it is as if the drug problem were not enough and it needed to be serviced by others.
Verbal abuse, character assassination, flagrant attempts to discredit political opponents are being practised. This is being done in spite of the pledge by both political to uphold a Code of Ethics.
The lack of female candidates in the political arena has been regretted. Few women have dared to expose themselves to the bitter strife entailed. Indeed, we ought to praise those valiant women who have presented themselves for election to the House of Assembly.
Now, one of our brave, patriotic sisters is under attack. A coward, despicable, verbal assault is made in public on a woman for no other reason than to gain political advantage. What kind of example is that for our young men in search of role-models? Does not such an action promote violence towards women? Women in Dominica should be outraged at this unwarranted attack and rise in solidarity with their beleaguered sister.
Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest political leaders of the 20th century, gives us a much- needed lesson in politics. He says: " You don't lead by your position, but by the strength of your ideas." I may add that you lead by your personal dignity, by respect for all and by the depth of your humanity.