Overcoming Bad Politics
Politics in and of itself is not something that is bad. In fact, it is a necessary part of our democracy. The provisions of our constitution are based on a number of principles and beliefs, one of which is our belief in a democratic society. The representative democracy and the multi-party democracy that is practiced in our society are widely considered sacrosanct. Since our political independence, we have practiced this form of democracy which we inherited from the British.
But why do we engage in politics? Because… "No man is an island"! In addition to sharing a common space and having resources in common, we are dependent on each other to enrich our lives! A businessman could not be successful without having customers and workers! A construction worker depends on work from others in the society. When we fall sick, we turn to our physicians! So yes, we do need each other.
But we must seek to organize all our efforts in ways that results in the greatest possibility efficiency and effectiveness as this is what would lead to the best possible quality of life. That is where politics comes into play. Towards arriving at the best quality of life possible, we need to make common decisions about our economic, social and environmental affairs - all interrelated and interdependent sustainable development dimensions.
In our democratic society, on the national scale, these common decisions are made through the national government, but it is through the political process we select or remove a government. Once a government is selected for a five-year term, it engages in a series of political decisions which affect our daily lives in several ways. For instance, the government decides how much money the state will take from people in the form of taxes to spend on public provisions such as healthcare, education, infrastructure and the security of citizens and visitors.
Bad decisions on taxation can hurt the health of the economy, while good decisions and the use of public funds wisely, can improve our lives. Governments may also borrow to help fund its activities, but these funds must ultimately be paid back using taxes. Bad borrowing decisions may hurt our wellbeing and that of future generations. The political process also involves making or amending laws that affect our lives – not only in relation to how we directly earn a living, but also in relation to how we otherwise live, raise our families, interact socially, recreate and enjoy our environment including our rivers and beaches.
So, politics is about the way that people living in groups make decisions. But opinions about what is the best course to be taken will always vary among individuals and among political parties within a nation that practices multi-party democracy. But that in itself should serve a good purpose where it leads to sober discussion by the society on what is best on average for the welfare of all in the society. In having such discussions, political parties seek to influence citizen to vote in general elections based on the proposals they promote. During their term in office, political parties also seek to convince people that the decisions they take are the right ones and this helps citizens to decide whether or not to re-elect a political party to office. So, from another perspective, politics is about influencing people to take a particular course of action.
So how has politics come to be viewed by many of our people as a dirty game? And how can we restore politics to a place where it serves our country well? Towards discussing these questions, let us distinguish between what I call "good politics' and "bad politics"
Good politics is politics that is practiced with honesty and aims to uplift the society. Good politicians engage in sharing truth and honest opinions. They do not seek to influence people by deception. They do not mislead people. Good politics leads to the empowerment of citizens and recognizes the need for strong institutions as the fulcrum for good governance. With good politics, there is a search for pragmatic and permanent solutions to problems rather than politically expedient solutions. Good politics unites people rather than divide them, and is based on love and respect for all people regardless of political party leaning or other differences.
Bad politics is the opposite! We have to root it out if we want to make better development progress. In the next article we will more fully define bad politics and we will begin to call out the kinds of bad political practices that are hurting our country. We have to require a higher standard from our politicians. The road to making our country wholesome again must start with removing Roosevelt Skerrit from political office and not voting for those alongside him who identify or associate with his evil practices including bad politics.
So, I ask of you, my people, to support the efforts of the Dominica Freedom Party as we seek to re-introduce good politics to our land.
Kent Vital Political Leader- Dominica Freedom Party.