Po­lit­i­cal co­ex­is­tence in democ­racy

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION&COMMENTARY -

THE EDI­TOR, Sir: SOME­TIMES I re­ally won­der if politi­cians for­get that Ja­maica is re­ally a demo­cratic coun­try. You only want an elec­tion to be an­nounced and the di­a­tribe be­gins to spew – spewed by per­sons who are sup­posed to be lead­ing the process of trans­form­ing our is­land into one united force work­ing for the com­mon good.

I watched the news­cast last evening and was re­ally hope­ful when I saw some young prospec­tive coun­cil­lors send­ing the mes­sage of unity to their fol­low­ers. One turned up to show sup­port for her op­pos­ing can­di­date, though the func­tion ap­peared to have been or­gan­ised on po­lit­i­cal ba­sis. The other was clear – he wanted to be a coun­cil­lor that unites the com­mu­nity he was as­signed to run as can­di­date in the up­com­ing elec­tion.

But right on the heels of these pos­i­tive sto­ries, I was numbed by the ut­ter­ance of some­one I con­sid­ered a sea­soned politi­cian. He was stri­dent in his pro­nounce­ment that he will not ac­cept the out­come of the elec­tion if a can­di­date from the op­pos­ing side wins in a par­tic­u­lar di­vi­sion. He went a lit­tle fur­ther ex­plain­ing that he can­not en­vi­sion him­self at the ta­ble with some­one from the op­pos­ing side. And as was ex­pected, the au­di­ence cheered him on.

Politi­cians must re­alise that they com­mand a large, but not all-so­phis­ti­cated au­di­ence, and many of their fol­low­ers not only look to them for guid­ance but also take their cue from them.

I re­ally be­lieve that we need to think Ja­maica in­stead of party pol­i­tics, and we must call out these politi­cians who seek to trib­alise in­stead of unify, whether it’s the party we sup­port or not.

Tribal pol­i­tics has been that tight noose not only around our necks, but our en­tire be­ing, re­tard­ing our growth and progress as na­tion. Since the ad­vent of tech­nol­ogy, it has al­lowed the world to see us in neg­a­tive way – so far from what true Ja­maicans re­ally are.

Disunity and trib­al­ism have out­lived their use­ful­ness, and I be­lieve we all need to stand up and say enough is enough to any­one who seeks to trib­alise our po­lit­i­cal process.

Our coun­try will only progress when we all – no mat­ter our po­lit­i­cal per­sua­sions – come to­gether and work for the good of this coun­try.


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