WHAT MAKES ME GLAD

The at­ti­tude of the SLP on the ques­tion of po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion needs fur­ther study. Be­ing for­ever ‘mad’ and in op­po­si­tion is so in­grained that the SLP can­not set­tle down and gov­ern when in of­fice . . . Some ob­servers see the SLP ap­proach to pol­i­tics as a

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Peter Josie

Dur­ing the last sev­eral years Rick and I have had many con­ver­sa­tions in which we teased each other's brain on mat­ters of na­tional in­ter­est. At these times Rick has tried to in­ter­est me in lis­ten­ing to lo­cal ra­dio and TV talk shows, sup­pos­edly to stay cur­rent with the po­lit­i­cal ground­ings. I stead­fastly re­fused to be drawn in be­cause my poor brain has dif­fi­culty vi­su­al­iz­ing pos­i­tive out­comes from the con­vo­luted ver­biage. Be­sides, the venom from known po­lit­i­cal hacks in search of their fif­teen sec­onds of fame bor­ders on mis­chief and crim­i­nal­ity.

Call­ers to these shows are en­cour­aged to speak what makes them mad, with­out a com­fort­ing word from the host. Is there value in help­ing such an­gry call­ers deal with the is­sues that con­front them? Does dwelling on the neg­a­tive as­pects of life in­stead of what is praise­wor­thy, seem self­ish and un­godly to you, dear reader? Frankly, no one promised us an easy life. Life is of­ten filled with dif­fi­cult chal­lenges. It is why Chris­tians are asked to take up the cross, if they wish to fol­low Je­sus' hard walk to Cal­vary.

One of the de­vel­op­ments that has made me glad in re­cent times is the show of sup­port from pri­vate cit­i­zens, busi­nesses and govern­ment in help­ing chil­dren at­tend school with the nec­es­sary sup­plies. I of­ten won­der whether the show of sup­port is over­done. Don't mis­un­der­stand! It would be prefer­able, in my books, if par­ents were able to pro­vide school sup­plies for their kids with­out out­side help.

Some strug­gling par­ents try hard to avoid ac­cept­ing hand­outs, re­gard­less of the source. Among these are par­ents who are barely keep­ing their heads above wa­ter. They are re­luc­tant to ac­cept gifts from per­sons they do not know. On the other hand there are oth­ers driven by greed. They would take and take and still not be sat­is­fied. They couldn't care less whose child is left be­hind. That sort of greed seems to make such per­sons mad with envy. Per­haps such peo­ple need more spir­i­tual guid­ance and less ma­te­rial trin­kets.

Sadly, the blan­ket of neg­a­tiv­ity does not end with free school sup­plies. For ex­am­ple, the con­stant prob­ing and ha­rass­ment of Guy Joseph by the for­mer govern­ment is a case in point. How much money was spent by the for­mer SLP govern­ment in­ves­ti­gat­ing Guy Joseph? When did the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gin, who car­ried it out and what was dis­cov­ered? How much money was spent? Shouldn't these ques­tions in­ter­est tax­pay­ers, whether it makes them mad or glad?

It was in­ter­est­ing lis­ten­ing to Rick on TALK last Thurs­day evening ex­plain­ing the his­tor­i­cal dif­fer­ence be­tween the UWP and the SLP. That his­tory de­serves a full air­ing on ra­dio and tele­vi­sion. It was sub­tly sug­gested that some ‘SLP­grad­u­ates' seemed stained with the men­tal­ity of the early lead­ers who saw the plan­ta­tion owner and white cap­i­tal­ists as the arch en­emy of the work­ing class . . . for life! Nei­ther time nor aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions seem ca­pa­ble of deal­ing with the legacy of slav­ery and colo­nial­ism. Why? Why does an SLP govern­ment dis­play a propen­sity for giv­ing white cap­i­tal­ist in­vestors more tax hol­i­day and other con­ces­sions (in­cen­tives) than the UWP? This is a co­nun­drum that de­fies logic, re­quir­ing fuller anal­y­sis and dis­cus­sion.

In ad­di­tion, the at­ti­tude of the SLP on the ques­tion of po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion needs fur­ther study. Be­ing for­ever ‘mad' and in op­po­si­tion is so in­grained that the SLP can­not set­tle down and gov­ern when in of­fice. The bick­er­ing never stops! Com­pare this to the UWP which seems oth­er­wise pre­oc­cu­pied when in op­po­si­tion, of­ten fail­ing to crit­i­cize the govern­ment. Some ob­servers see the SLP ap­proach to pol­i­tics as an elab­o­rate bluff aimed at keep­ing the elec­torate from mon­i­tor­ing their in­ner work­ings. That ex­plains why they wish to for­get the Gryn­berg oil deal, the IMPACS re­port, Rochamel, the mas­sive con­ces­sions heaped on the Roy­al­ton ho­tel, the prom­ises made to San­dals, etc.

The ap­proach of these two po­lit­i­cal par­ties re­minds one of an Ae­sop fa­ble that was taught in schools a long time ago. The wind and the sun had a quar­rel about which one was stronger, and the wind said, 'I'll prove I am.' It pointed to an old man with a coat and bet that it could get his coat off him faster than the sun could. So the sun hid be­hind a cloud and the wind blew and blew un­til it was al­most a hur­ri­cane, but the stronger it blew the more the old man held on tightly to his coat. Fi­nally, the wind calmed down and gave up. The sun came from be­hind the clouds and smiled kindly on the old man. The old man mopped his brow and pulled off his coat. The sun then told the wind that gen­tle­ness and friend­li­ness were al­ways stronger than fury and force. There is a moral in there some­where for those who are not too an­gry to see it.

There is also a les­son for those who are al­ways com­plain­ing and belly­ach­ing and never happy, no mat­ter what. Lit­tle things get them mad and they seem in­ca­pable of de­vel­op­ing an af­fir­ma­tive at­ti­tude. Peo­ple with a pos­i­tive mind-set know that bad times don't last for­ever. Such at­ti­tudes make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in the home, the com­mu­nity, the na­tion and the world. An af­fir­ma­tive mind-set leads to a bet­ter life be­cause it makes peo­ple glad, not sad or mad. The pos­i­tive at­ti­tude by the peo­ple and govern­ment of Saint Lu­cia to­wards the is­lands rav­aged by Hur­ri­cane Irma is one that should make ev­ery God­fear­ing Saint Lu­cian glad, not mad!

In end­ing, I of­fer a brief sum­mary of the first five verses of Psalm 34 in Holy Writ: “I will praise the Lord for what he has done; may all who are op­pressed lis­ten and be glad! The op­pressed look to Him and are glad they will never be dis­ap­pointed.”

For good mea­sure I add five guid­ing prin­ci­ples to live by: al­ways ex­press thanks and praise; stay pos­i­tive re­gard­less of the chal­lenges; put your prob­lems at the foot of the cross and call upon Je­sus; aim for a clear con­science; love your­self and strive to be glad, not mad.

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