R-E-S-P-E-C-T . . . Just A Lit­tle Bit!

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

It stands to rea­son if you plan to use some­one as some kind of po­lit­i­cal pawn that you do not rate him or her very highly. The emer­gence of our peo­ple from dark­ness into light, no thanks to the present op­po­si­tion, is one rea­son our an­ces­tors strug­gled from slav­ery to the present. Free­dom and in­de­pen­dence can­not co-ex­ist with­out mu­tual re­spect. When Aretha Franklin passed away in Au­gust of this year her pop­u­lar hit ‘Re­spect’ re­turned to me with as much feel­ing as when it was first re­leased. Ms. Franklin had ex­pe­ri­enced the dis­re­spect which many peo­ple of colour see and feel to this day.

The propen­sity to re­spect or dis­re­spect a per­son seems rooted in the so­cial mores of so­ci­ety and not in the teach­ings of Je­sus Christ, in whose name Chris­tian­ity was founded, and who treated all peo­ple with re­spect, even his en­e­mies. Dur­ing a prac­tice for First Com­mu­nion, a priest walked down the cen­tre aisle of his church, past the front rows of quiet chil­dren, then turned sud­denly to his left to in­flict a sting­ing slap to the face of a boy he had ear­lier cau­tioned for talk­ing and gig­gling dur­ing cat­e­chism.

Years later, a po­lice­man walked past the gates of Vic­to­ria Park in Cas­tries and spied a young­ster, one of a group of four boys, smok­ing a mar­i­juana joint. He walked up to the lad, grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, and let loose a hard slap to the boy’s face. The boy had been pre­vi­ously warned that mar­i­juana smok­ing was il­le­gal.

In Florida, a judge im­posed a fine on a young woman for say­ing aloud ‘Adios’ as she walked out of his court. As she turned around to again walk away, she raised her mid­dle fin­ger at the court. The judge called her back a sec­ond time and, to her ut­ter shock and dis­may, he slapped her with a thirty-day jail sen­tence.

The thread which runs through th­ese three in­ci­dents is called re­spect. This is ob­vi­ous to those with a lit­tle man­ners and so­cial deco­rum. Its op­po­site, dis­re­spect, in­di­cates a lack of so­cial aware­ness and ac­cept­able ci­vil­ity and con­duct. Re­spect demon­strates an ac­knowl­edge­ment of the re­cip­i­ent’s sta­tion in life, or his or her se­nior­ity, or abil­ity and fam­ily or so­ci­etal con­nec­tions.

An in­ter­est­ing as­pect of re­spect has been at the fore­front of re­cent dis­cus­sions in Saint Lu­cia. It hides be­hind free speech and democ­racy and in­sults and dis­re­spects the in­tel­li­gence of the av­er­age cit­i­zen. In a democ­racy, re­spect ought not to come from force and not only from for­mal ed­u­ca­tion. In­stead, re­spect comes from so­cial­iza­tion which be­gins at home. Later, re­spect be­comes an in­trin­sic part of the per­son­al­ity and it is earned es­pe­cially af­ter it is first demon­strated. There­fore, to earn it, one must first be pre­pared to show it.

This raises the ques­tion, whether a leader who has proved in­ca­pable of speak­ing truth and de­lib­er­ately con­ceals fac­tual in­for­ma­tion has any re­spect for his con­stituents.

Ly­ing and dis­re­spect takes me to an­other as­pect of pub­lic life which has been in the news lately. When there is ev­i­dence that a pub­lic fig­ure does not speak truth to his lis­ten­ers, should we de­pend on jour­nal­ists to bring the truth to light? If not, who should shine a light on the dark­ness of dis­re­spect?

We seem pow­er­less as a peo­ple to do any­thing about the rot­ten party hacks that mas­quer­ade as jour­nal­ists in this so­ci­ety. Why should pro­fes­sional jour­nal­ism fall into the hands of hacks who are reck­less with the facts? Why should peo­ple who twist facts to suit their nar­row po­lit­i­cal in­cli­na­tions be al­lowed in the me­dia? And why should me­dia own­ers who de­pend on gov­ern­ments for li­censes al­low their busi­nesses to be tainted by po­lit­i­cal hacks that put party be­fore coun­try?

There are no easy an­swers to solv­ing the na­tional dis­grace of politi­cians, med­i­cal doc­tors and jour­nal­ists who openly dis­re­spect the av­er­age cit­i­zen. The dis­re­spect which is be­ing heaped upon the peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia by those above, says more about where th­ese ‘qual­i­fied’ jok­ers are from than any­thing else. The gen­e­sis of their dis­re­spect can be found in the homes where they were raised.

Mark my word, wild and un­sci­en­tific flashes of fancy, lies and dis­re­spect from politi­cians and their hacks, whether they are jour­nal­ists or med­i­cal doc­tors, will not con­tribute to the so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of Saint Lu­cia. Sup­port­ing the op­po­si­tion may gain such liars a kind of vi­car­i­ous plea­sure, but for how long? And if their dis­re­spect per­sists, should the peo­ple take mat­ters into their own hands by unit­ing them­selves un­der a na­tional Fo­rum-like ban­ner with mil­i­tancy, to re­pel those who would desta­bi­lize the econ­omy and dis­re­spect them? Why are th­ese ‘qual­i­fied’, dis­re­spect­ful liars try­ing to frus­trate the ef­forts of a gov­ern­ment that is work­ing so hard for the coun­try in a way the SLP did not, af­ter fif­teen years in of­fice?

Whose fault is it that the peo­ple were shown so lit­tle re­spect by the SLP that the peo­ple voted them out of of­fice in 2016? Is the SLP op­po­si­tion try­ing to re­turn to of­fice by forc­ing its will on the peo­ple? Who will teach the op­po­si­tion and its anti-so­cial friends to re­spect the wishes of the elec­torate? That’s a tough ques­tion to an­swer be­cause if the op­po­si­tion is to re­spect us, they must first learn to re­spect them­selves. And that’s the prob­lem: a lack of re­spect for self.

Fi­nally, the emer­gence of the peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia from the dark­ness of the SLP and their self-serv­ing friends into light, no thanks to the present po­lit­i­cal doc­tors that are now do­ing their ut­most to frus­trate the UWP gov­ern­ment, is one rea­son we the peo­ple must fight th­ese im­posters with ev­ery­thing we’ve got. Th­ese jok­ers show us no re­spect. We must re­mind them that our free­dom and our in­de­pen­dence are founded on re­spect, and we will not let them dis­re­spect us!

The re­cently de­ceased uni­ver­sal singing su­per­star Aretha Franklin, it turns out, did much dur­ing her il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer to en­hance the im­age of peo­ple of colour ev­ery­where. Her big hit, Re­spect, said it all!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.