Our Readers' Opinions
November 18, 2005

Choose substance over promise

by Dr. Richard A. B. Cox

The bell has gone signalling the last lap in the elections and the use of every conceivable ploy to win votes. This is nothing new; in fact it is in the very nature of electoral politics anywhere. My concern is how easily the poor and desperate, the workers, the women and the masses in general fall for these deceptions. It is as if our people never learn, as if we lack the ability to think and to understand for ourselves. Year in, year out, election after election we are taken for a ride and come another election, we happily sit on the merry-go-round to be taken for the ride once again. Will we ever learn? {{more}} Are we so daft that we are destined to be the eternal beasts of burden for these politicians, many of whom are mere parasites with lying tongues and insatiable greed?

I am appalled by this gullibility of our people, the way we are easily carried away by the empty promises and deceitful rhetoric of the party leaders who have no real interest in the aspirations of our people, and who see John Public as nothing but a dumb ass to be ridden to the death and a puppet to be manipulated at will through petty election bribes. Why is it we place short-term individual gain above long-term universal good? Is it that many of us are so hungry, desperate and hopeless that when election comes around we have no problem in making our brother an enemy, and the country a caboose simply because we are given some crumbs?

Blind loyalty is like a drug that dulls senses

We must change, if not for ourselves then for the sake of our children and their children. Putting loyalty to party or person above all else is totally incompatible with patriotism. Indeed this blind loyalty is like a drug that dulls the senses of the faithful, conditioning their support for the treason of country in the interest of party. Remember the board appointments by the NDP? Or how about the ULP’s Hartley Henry sweetheart deal? This country’s treasury must stop being the parties’ bank account.

We must consider always what is best for our country’s future, who can best help us to realise the dream of building a nation. We must never forget that while society is the pages on which history is written, and blood is the ink used, power is the hand that writes it. Political power is therefore very serious business for that is the first history-making agent in contemporary society.

Fellow Vincentians, take a look at what we had and compare it with what we have; measure the words of those demagogues against their daily actions; look carefully at those who claimed to have risen to the occasion and determine whether the rise is not caused solely by an yeast called an unhealthy desire for political power. These things should be uppermost in our minds when making our decisions at the polls. This is the 21st Century, we have been a nation for more than 25 years, a short time I agree, but we could have and should have done much, much better. Millions have been squandered, many of our young people’s future sacrificed, much of our wealth stolen or given away; We cannot continue in this way, we must change, we cannot suffer eternally.

Too many promises

I have said and maintain that a change of party and faces with no change in substance is cosmetic and will not help us. We have survived on promises for too long; it is time we live on substance. We must believe that we can build a fair, kind, just and prosperous nation. But we must do more than believe; we must act. Meaningful change can only take place when we the people are committed to that change. Before you vote, look at the present realities of our homeland, and think who would do better in reducing crime, unemployment, our foreign debt and the hopelessness and apathy of many sectors of our society and decide accordingly. To do otherwise is to condemn our nation to the backwaters of the world and to say in no uncertain terms to our children that you care nothing of their future.

We must not be fooled or bullied into voting against our conscience

Whether we arrest the social, political, economic and moral morass and decay that threatens our society and build a nation of which we can be justly proud, depends on the part we all play including our choice of leaders. In my view both parties have fundamental flaws, but with some thought we must be able to come up with the better of these two imperfects, the one that puts the majority first and works in the interest of that majority. We must not be fooled or bullied into voting against our conscience and therefore against our country, we must hold to the pledge of “loyalty and love” for homeland first and foremost.