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