Dr. Fraser- Point of View
September 4, 2009
Jonathan Peters- A stroke of genius?

I guess you should know by now that I am thoroughly intrigued by Jonathan Peters. As a student of history and literature I like to get into the minds of fascinating characters. Jonathan puzzles me because I am not sure what drives him. To me here is a character either fit for the mental asylum or is a stroke of genius. I tend to opt for the latter. He is sheer genius. My fascination and intrigue grew with his television appearance some weeks ago. In fact, I understood that the presentation I saw was a repeat of an earlier one. My dear friend Jonathan spoke for about half an hour and mentioned the phrase “Divine restlessness” on about 50 occasions.{{more}} It might be less but it appeared so to me. Unfortunately, I missed a lot of what he had to say because I was concentrating on the term “Divine restlessness”, trying to come to grips with it and to find out what was driving Peté. Maybe, even trying to understand the term was an act of ‘divine restlessness’. So is Jonathan’s search one to rid himself of ‘divine restlessness’ and to be ‘divinely restful’? Johno’s performance was something else. The expression on his face, the way he worked his eyes certainly betrayed restlessness. I was not sure then why the restlessness was divinely inspired. In one of his works on ‘Oratory’, Cicero, one of Rome’s finest statesmen, had the following to say: “Once he has made sure he does not have a stupid expression on his face and or a grimace, he should control his eyes with great care, for as the face is the image of the soul the eyes are its translators. Depending on the subject at hand they can express grief or hilarity”. The expression on Johnno’s face was not stupid. He did a lot of things with his eyes, which suggested control. There certainly was no grimace. Nor was there hilarity! Grief perhaps for the country was moving away from divine inspiration but what really came out was ‘restlessness’ and passion, a man with a mission. Perhaps he is still trying to explore the nature of the mission, which explains why it is an act of ‘divine restlessness.’

Johno has a way with words and he spins them to suit his needs. He has a unique kind of charisma that needs exploring because he might be pointing the way forward and has caught on to something with which we have not yet come to grips. In fact that charisma began to show itself on that day when he disembarked from a LIAT flight and proceeded to kiss the ground. He began to show his true colours then and it appeared that his divine restlessness started at that point. It has haunted him since then and he has set out to deal with it. It appears that his ambition is to become leader of the New Democratic Party and to take that party to victory at the next election. I am not sure how he intends to do this or what strategy he has in mind. I am not even sure which constituency he intends to represent. Will there be a coup d’etat? I am really intrigued. You see Politician Peters has been sending around what I call an advertisement, “It’s Time For A Change! Who Can Better Lead The New Democratic Party?” But many of the persons who have received copies of the Advertisement are not even members of the New Democratic Party, it would appear, and furthermore they come from different constituencies, so one cannot conclude that he is building a constituency base. All of this adds to the mystery of the man.

The Advertisement emphasizes “the man, his mission, his vision and his country.” The last paragraph of his Advertisement I assume to be his vision. It reads, “The Perspective of a better Society for you and your children will not evolve from more Government control and denial of our freedom and individual rights: but out of the religious conscience of your heart to love your neighbour as yourself”. So the future is not about Government control but about the religious conscience of our heart. Is Jonathan beginning to seek his spiritual roots and to search for a religious angle? His television address was focussed in this direction. In fact if I was seeing him for the first time I would certainly have thought that he was a ‘Televangelist’. He had that bearing. But if this is his perspective, how does Government fit into it? How does politics help to shape it? Or is it that he is using it to shape politics? Jonathan appears to be a man of God. In his address he was warning the nation that it had turned its back on the Lord and I gather that we would suffer for that, that is, now I think of it, unless we elect him to a leadership position where he can undo the wrong. At least this is my interpretation of it. I would recommend a town hall type of meeting where he can have frank exchanges with the public so that we can get to understand him. I would certainly like to attend one of these. Maybe I missed this in my attempt to come to grips with his ‘divine restlessness’, but I cannot remember hearing what he is bringing to the table regarding policies; his economic plan? His foreign policy thrust? As a former ambassador to the United Nations, I am anxious to hear about any new foreign policy initiatives. I would like to hear his views on the constitution. In fact, a thirty minutes address on the Constitution will be something to behold and should be enlightening. He should follow this up with the presentation of a manifesto that would point the way forward. Maybe in these days of uncertainty and hard economic times he has what is needed and so he needs to let us know quickly. Maybe struggling to get to the top position in the New Democratic Party is taking up too much of his time, so my suggestion to him is to start a completely new party. I got from him a feeling that both parties under their current leadership have been helping to carry the country downstream. In fact he noted, “Our Country has suffered because of:- Blind leadership, is Bad Leadership, brought us Bad Decisions; resulted in Hardship and Crime and a broken Society.” If so why use those decaying boats rather than create new ones? Not new decaying boats but boats that are sea worthy and with a divinely inspired captain!

So far in his various media blitz he has been emphasizing his qualities. Unfortunately, a number of young people would not have known Jonathan the politician, extraordinaire, so that when he said that he has unequivocally demonstrated- “Leadership, Experience, Character, Integrity, Charisma, Credibility, Moral Values and Rational Judgement” he needs to fill in the contents and show them in what ways he has unequivocally demonstrated these traits. In this age when it is felt that our politicians lack Integrity, credibility and moral values Jonathan could tell them and remind us of what stuff he is made. It is not enough to say that “I have earned remarkably, distinguished and exquisite accomplishments”. He has to show us how he has earned them. These days we are hearing so much about revolutions, whether it be wellness or education. Maybe Johnny P can begin a Moral Revolution and make a difference. Politicians come and go and maybe my fascination with Johnny P has to do with his uniqueness and his approach strengthened by his passion and drive. Time is slipping away and Johnny P needs to make his move with utmost speed. He has to make his mission much clearer and to spell out in more detail his vision. So we are looking forward to other television appearances dealing with the new constitution and his economic plan. He must do so with the same conviction, passion and drive. He must show them what charisma is made of. Some people speak about it but some simply demonstrate it. Show them Johhno! Show them! It is time for a new revolution, a Moral Revolution indeed. This agenda would certainly drive away any ‘divine restlessness’. What I see is a politician with a difference. Maybe he even embodies the new constitution.

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian.