Scamps or Statesmen
In a recent post, I made the point that our politicians had the choice of being statesmen, or scamps.
A couple of recent events looked to me to be particularly scamp-like.
One was the recent move by the JLP to block the count of 2 un-counted boxes in the constituency in which their candidate was declared the winner. The article can be accessed here.
To observers it seems that the only reason the count is being blocked is to prevent the magisterial count from being overturned.
While they have every legal right to go to court and to take the action they took, I believe it was a grave mistake, and defies the spirit of the law. It was an opportunity that was lost to take the morale high ground, and to put country over party at a time when a clear demonstration was needed.
Today, the PNP had its national conference, and I noticed that Portia ignored the clear overtures that Bruce had made to join together in some creative way to lead the country.
It would have been better for Jamaica to have said "I hear you but, I don't believe you." To ignore his words altogether, and instead to promise only that "this isn't finished" (in reference to the last election) strikes me as more of the scamp-like behaviour that puts party over country.
I believe the country yearned for her to at least acknowledges that he reached out, and that his slim majority means that he MUST do so for the sake of Jamaica's peace and prosperity.
While these look to me like lost opportunities, I think these are early days, and that the situation is not lost, it's just that we are off to a rocky start.
I get the feeling that people of principle have abandoned our political process, and that we (including myself) have turned into a nation of talk-show hosts.
When people of principle withdraw themselves, the scamps run the roost. The results are disastrous, and the burden of failure comes down the most heavily on the poor, the uneducated and the unemployed.
They are largely the ones wearing the T-shirts, hanging out the buses to travel to party meetings hoping to get a free lunch and a little money, and who will vote for anyone in the right colour T-shirt. Scampish behaviour appeals to the lowest common denominator and breeds a dependence that relies on appetite (for food, money, excitement, thrill, love) over intelligence.
Unfortunately, you can't run a country on by feeding people's appetites, and now it looks like the camp-like behaviour that we have tolerated during "election-time" might well be running the show for a very, very long time.