When Moral Au­thor­ity Mat­ters

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

By Lu­cia H. Best

Can a se­rial cheater with a string of an­gry lovers in his wake ven­ture to speak cred­i­bly on fi­delity? If so, then many per­sons will feel that he is the wrong man to am­plify that mes­sage. Whether he chooses to be­come liti­gious about it or oth­er­wise re­act an­grily, this will not change the views held that he has been as­so­ci­ated with cir­cum­stances that are di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed to his mes­sage.

Moral Au­thor­ity is an im­por­tant tool in the prac­tice of pol­i­tics. If a po­lit­i­cal party does not have the moral au­thor­ity to speak on cur­rent so­cial is­sues such as rape, bur­glary, murders, fraud or other ar­eas of in­jus­tice and crime, then they ought to gra­ciously ac­cept this dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion as the price paid when cer­tain char­ac­ters are ac­cepted as mem­bers of “de party”.

Many of our politi­cians, while they have the right to speak openly, can­not speak con­vinc­ingly on var­i­ous is­sues be­cause it will in­sti­gate com­ments that lead back to re­lated skele­tons in their clos­ets.

The an­swer to this em­bar­rass­ing dilemma is to be se­lec­tive and know when to back down. If not, they run the risk that the peo­ple in­tended to be the au­di­ence may shut them out. Peo­ple do have lives out­side of pol­i­tics but if they want to be­come pub­lic fig­ures in that arena, then they must set re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions that some as­pects of their past con­duct, sins or mis­for­tunes of the past, will surely be re­played in the pub­lic do­main.

It would be quite fool­hardy of pub­lic fig­ures, par­tic­u­larly politi­cians, to ex­pect that they can in­tim­i­date the pub­lic or me­dia in a man­ner that will si­lence them; in­deed pre­vent them from re­fer­ring to un­flat­ter­ing in­ci­dents in their (politi­cians’) back­grounds.

Launch­ing law­suits will ac­com­plish lit­tle to change the fact that peo­ple will talk. Over time peo­ple or op­po­nents will con­tinue to ex­press their opin­ions about them, es­pe­cially if cur­rent is­sues evoke past mem­o­ries. So will the law­suits be a life­long re­sort for them?

No pub­lic fig­ure should ex­pect Saint Lu­cians or the me­dia to re­main hushed, not crit­i­cize them or keep their se­crets clas­si­fied in this small so­ci­ety. They should go grow a thick skin if they want to en­gage in pub­lic life.

Should gov­ern­ment leg­is­late to stop peo­ple from see­ing pub­lic of­fi­cials in a bad light, if they so wish? Ob­vi­ously some politi­cians want to be re­garded as an­gels who have fallen out of the clear blue sky.

The sce­nario bor­ders on the ridicu­lous.

Can pol­i­tics and moral au­thor­ity stand side by side and can bad seeds bear fruits of any moral


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.