Dr. Fraser- Point of View
September 23, 2005
Election fever it is

The word fever according to my Collins English dictionary means intense nervous excitement. It also means delirium that is a state of lunacy or madness. Election fever is thus appropriately named.

As we move closer and closer to election we seem to be losing our sense of decency and humanity and everything goes. I am making this statement after seeing a picture of Mrs. Theo Saunders as she was asked to cut the ribbon at the official opening of the Tommy Saunders’ secondary school. I said she was asked to cut the ribbon but that is to put a good face on it. {{more}}Please look at that photograph again in the News newspaper. Poor Mrs. Saunders didn’t have a clue what was going on. Her hand had to be held to cut the ribbon. It was a pathetic scene. Could one of her children not have been asked to do the honours? Or could some presentation not have been made where she lives? Is there no sense of decency left? It really appears that anything goes.

Election fever! Election madness! What are we really coming to? Is the goal to win by any means necessary? I was really perturbed after looking at that picture. Can we not put a stop to this state of lunacy?

But that was not all. Earlier hundreds of students were brought to the Richmond Hill Playing field to a rally that involved among other things handing out cheques to top students and schools. I sat in my office nearby where everything was drowned out by the loud sounds, music and all. It was as if no one in the vicinity was supposed to work. Even then, although infuriating, I was prepared to put up with it, given the occasion. But what followed was despicable to say the least. Instead of a school children’s rally what we had was a Block-O with the Dee Jay asking the students to “wine” which many did all clothed in their school uniforms.

The Dee Jay whoever he was, was totally irresponsible and the authorities should not have allowed it to degenerate to that level. In fact, some of the teachers were so disgusted that they left. Some parents took their children away. Is it really that anything goes?

We complain about a break-down in discipline but encourage ill discipline. A rally for school children clad in their school uniforms is not the occasion for a block-O. We must do better than that.

One of my early politics textbooks was entitled “Who Gets What, When, and How!” and it is really an adequate way of describing the politics we are subjected to in these small islands. It is a question of winner takes all. So, for some people their whole life appears to be at stake and that is why we have some of the nonsense we have. Many persons achieve what they achieve by simply kowtowing to those in power. These are the ones who are most dangerous. Their lives are about being sycophants. To hold on to their ill- gotten gains they have to show their loyalty and become vicious in the process. I have not seen the Code of Conduct that is supposed to govern the approaches to the general election.

I hope it takes account of those persons who act even outside the framework of the party they claim to be supporting and become more party than the party itself. The point to be made, too, is that the loaf of bread is quite small and not enough to go around. Instead of trying to make a bigger loaf there are those who are only prepared to feast on what’s left.

I have been trying to make the point for sometime that we are gradually but surely reaching the point of no return. Interpersonal relationships are being destroyed in a manner that will make them difficult to restore.

If the fever was only an election fever it might not be so bad but the frenzy and the fury and the passion that accompany it will undoubtedly outlast the election. If it is not handled properly the body, the state, will suffer. Then there is the media that carry the messages and sometimes provide an outlet for our worst tendencies.

Some of the headlines and captions reflect a state of irresponsibility. Any statement, even if outlandish, that is made by a politician is immediately treated as the gospel truth and highlighted. No effort is taken to look critically at what is said. Is it that the author lacks the intellectual depth to do so? Is there no element of professionalism or does the journalist see his/herself simply as the bringer of news?

The journalist is not a mere reporter. He has a responsibility to report on events or issues in a manner that allows the reader to look critically at those issues or events. I often wonder if it is possible to develop robots that might do that job. At least we will understand that.

I keep harping on the role of the media. It has to help its readers and listeners to get to the root of any matter. It has to ask questions and challenge its subjects. Its role is even more important in an election atmosphere where it should help its readers/listeners to understand the issues. It has to provide the information in a balanced manner that will allow persons to arrive at their own conclusions.

Information is a key element in any democracy and the media is a key player in this. Do our journalists make an effort to develop themselves and to understand the issues, for clearly if they do not understand the issues then they are not going to be of any help and will not be able to fulfil the role that one expects of them. Or is it that as with much of the society they are bitten by the election bug?

We are surely into a period where anything goes and normal sensible persons act in ways that are truly unbelievable.

Furthermore it is sometimes hard to put up with the rubbish that spouts from the mouths of many of our politicians at this time.

We need to keep our cool and realise that once we live in this society we have to react with others in a manner that is expected of human kind. Really the media should be helping to cool the atmosphere but instead parts of it do the opposite and fuel our worst tendencies.

Some persons need to maintain their sanity in this atmosphere of lunacy.