A Heather Cole Column – Warfare Vs. Entertainment
When I was a child,
I spake as a child,
I understood as a child,
I thought as a child: but when I became a man,
I put away childish things.
– 1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I loved the silly season not because it made me think earnestly about the persons and government in whom my mother was entrusting my future but for the music, the lyrics of songs, the political banter, the late nights attending political meeting, listening to things I did not understand; the funny things the candidates said, the gossip they started about one another and the fanfare of wearing red or blue and watching the spectacle of a well-practiced speech delivered by someone who turned up at our house asking for my mother’s vote.
Somehow we all got caught up in this exercise. It brought as much anticipation as Christmas. We all enjoyed it’s fanfare until the big day came with its nervous wait to determine our fate. However for the poor it always brought the same fate; nothing changed. The cycle continued of the rich becoming richer; the poor remaining poor and not laying eyes upon the middleman until five years later when he greeted you as if you parted yesterday.
Now that I am grown and uniquely interested in the well-being of all Barbadians, I now question what we have been doing all along.
I have come to realize how gullible a people we really are. By now it must be a weakness because we have fallen for the same ploy of broken promises season after season without redress. It appears that we enjoy being promised punishment. It is quite like the Stockholm syndrome which occurs after a relationship has been established with one’s captors. Slavery has really done us wrong as it seems that we have taken the deficiency of a once a year entertainment given to us by the masters way too far. Why do we need to profess it at every opportunity we get?
On Sunday March 7, 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and about 600 persons marched. It was not an act to entertain but the last resort, a demonstration or protest that was akin to a riot or a slave revolt if it had not occurred in 1965. It was a protest that raised the conscience of a nation and obtained civil rights for black people. There is a lot for us to learn from the sobriety of this protest.
The social, economic and civil rights of all Barbadians have been under threat for the past 10 years. It is time for us to face the election season with sobriety. The upcoming elections must be a catalyst for serious thought and change because the spectre of entertainment has done us no good on raising the conscience of our nation.
If we were taught that a general election was the time for the people to force change when the mandate given by them was not accomplished, we would embrace the concept of warfare. If we as a nation were under constant attack and our situation one of duress, pain, hopelessness, suffering and misery and we found a chance to break free but there had to be a fight, our minds would be focused on the concept of warfare; the struggle to achieve a desired outcome.
No soldier going to war fraternizes with the enemy; the person who brings pain suffering and agony as that would be treason. Therefore no amount of money offered should cause a voter to sell their vote when there will only be fleeting gratification from the exercise and misery in the long run. Some sold their vote and now realize that it was not worth the day to day struggle to survive today. Others have also realized that they allowed their representative to change the economic climate which contributed to loss of their job, home, savings and car. They have all realized that they were tricked by hustlers for a hundred dollar bill, a cell-phone, i-pad, TV, fridge or stove. We have to learn to see beyond this trickery.
It defies logic to believe that a man can bribe his prospective boss, but it happened in Barbados. It is difficult to understand why Barbadians can allow representatives of political parties whom they will employ to bribe them. Perhaps the people do not understand the power that they possess. Any man who buys your vote will never have your interest at heart, only his. Never give up your right to vote freely and fairly.
This silly season is distinctly different as the country has never been in such social, economic and environmental difficulty before. Never have we had such scoundrels in Parliament who have bought not only the liberty of the franchise, but destroyed the economic well-being of the country and the social well-being of the people. Knowing full well what the sitting party did and will do the retain power. Anyone who thinks that this election is not a war is in denial. Perhaps all of the opposition parties must change their strategies and adopt the philosophy of warfare. The Art of War is a good read.
There is enough evidence on corruption alone to be used against the Stuart Administration. Then there is mismanagement of the economy, and then there are the scandals like the Cahill Gasification Plant, The Hilton Hotel, The Sewage on the South Coast and one can go on and on. The point that I am trying to make is that no one should leave your political meeting feeling happy and dancing or on the fence not knowing who to vote for. They should be so enraged that the ONLY choice they would have is to vote for an opposition party.
Hopefully, when the next history book is written of Barbados, it will note that the period leading up to general elections in the year 2018 was significantly different than in previous election years; that the concept of entertainment was put away and replaced with the sobriety of warfare in order to extract what was duly required not only for the preservation of the socio and economic well-being of those alive then but also for future generations.