DFP political leader Kent Vital
DFP political leader Kent Vital

In a number of the recent articles under this column, we discussed removing bad politics from our land. In this article let us discuss another aspect of bad politics – the politics of hate. Hate politics is widely practiced in Dominica.

What is hatred? Put simply, hatred is an intense dislike for another person.

Wikipedia provides a more detailed perspective as follow. "Hatred or hate is an emotion. Hatred could invoke feelings of animosity, anger, or resentment, which can be directed against certain individuals, groups, entities, objects, behaviors, concepts, or ideas. Hatred is often associated with feelings of anger, disgust and a disposition towards the source of hostility."

In the common world view, hate is often associated with discrimination and oppression of people or groups based on various grounds – race, ethnicity, nationality, political association and religion, among other grounds.

Another source describes hate as an intense hostility and aversion usually derived from fear, anger and a sense of injury. But we can also note that hate can be learnt and that some people develop hate based on what others say and lead them to believe. Such influence may stem from the home and the community, and in the case of politics in Dominica, from practitioners of bad politics including unscrupulous political leaders and prime ministers, some political party stalwarts or "die-hard" supporters, and defenders and collaborators of corrupt politicians. Often unjustified or unrealistic, hatred can flourish in the absence of compassion and rational thinking. Let us further explore these perspectives on hatred in the context of politics in Dominica.

Currently, the Skerrit-led Labour Party actively promotes hate against opposing political groups, specific individuals and those associated with them. The Skerrit-led Labour Party seeks to promote hate against the Dominica Freedom Party by seeking to associate the party with the UWP given that they have succeeded in causing many of their supporters to hate the UWP.

But the Dominica Freedom Party will always stand for integrity and we are free to stand with those who we judge to want good governance irrespective of their distant past political behavior or accusations against them. The electorate should give fair consideration to the proposals of opposition political parties that embrace integrity. After all, under our democracy, we can always remove from office political parties that are not delivering good results and that do not govern with integrity. It is that realization that should drive political parties to do better. But alas, the Skerrit-led DLP is using other strategies to hang onto power – the promotion of hate, bribery and electoral cheating being prevalent.

Political hate harms our country. It can result in violence against those hated! Two gentlemen, whom I did not know previously and who did not know me before, met me on the streets of Roseau and threw indecent language at me apparently due to the hate talk that they hear coming from the leadership of the DLP and their defenders.

By the disposition of those guys, this could have turned into violence against me! But there are also the instances of incitement of violence by the Prime Minister including his recent "not so subtle" advice to some persons to use hot water against opponents!

The Prime Minister has in the past encouraged his supporters to call persons traitors when they see them passing by on the streets. If his call is heeded, it would amount to a clear provocation that could spill over into violence. Other minsters of government have also engaged in hate speech and in the incitement of violence. Hate politics can disrupt the tenuous peace in our land. It can lead to an even greater environment of unkindness than it already has. This is not the kind of society we want. Consequently, we must reject the Skerrit-led regime that has taken our country to such a dark place. Those who support other political parties must not respond with hate, instead let love conquer hate.

A second major impact of hate is that it can cause us to hurt our own selves and our country by not selecting the political party with the best capability and integrity to take our country forward. Indicating how political hatred has gotten so engrained in our society, one gentleman remarked to Johnson Boston and me that he would rather follow Skerrit to hell than Linton to heaven! What depth of hate that some are willing to go to hell with their hate.

In next week's article we will continue with this subject and we will discuss whether political hate is ever justified or realistic. We will ask – why are some people so angry or what are some people so fearful of that causes them to hate so deeply? We will ask in what ways have some people been injured to cause them to hate so deeply. Who are these people listening to and why are they not thinking for themselves?

Let's stop the hate! It is hurting our country!

Kent Vital

Political Leader

Dominica Freedom Party.