Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Arrogance the unforgivable sin

Published:Wednesday | October 7, 2015 | 10:00 AM

The only thing a man, or woman, has to do to attract the label 'arrogant' is to hold a firm and deep conviction about anything. If you defend yourself in an argument, readily drawing on life experiences or vicariously refer to those of others, in support of your point, you are deemed arrogant.

Heaven help you if you refer to books you may have read or frame your response to an issue in the context of incidents or events that some learned man or woman has ever written in a book. For then you will be considered the most arrogant thing since, well, the previous most arrogant thing.

You will never live down the perception of arrogance if, in an argument, you indicate that your point cannot be inferior to a man who speaks exclusively on the basis of what he feels and believes to be true. You will forever injure that man if you mention that the information you have gleaned through your own reading, research and contemplation makes your line of argument superior to his, given that his only has the support of what his gut tells him.

The real kick comes when you dismiss an argument with a person on the grounds that they lack the relevant information to engage you in discussion on a particular topic. Put simply, if you are someone who's well informed and asserts that wealth of information in your interaction with those who are less so, you will be labelled arrogant.

Some people behave like licensed dunces. And when a licensed dunce, who may be abrasive and belligerent to boot, is put in their place by a man of greater understanding and, perhaps, learning, the dunce evokes sympathy from all, while the smart man is deemed evil and arrogant.

The label 'arrogant' is meant to demean. It's meant to knock the label holder down a peg or few. The man deemed arrogant is meant to be ashamed, to shy away from the public and slink away in corners because of the stigma attached.

From what has been said by their constituents, both Damion Crawford and his fellow first-term Peoples National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament (MP) Raymond Pryce have paid a heavy price for their arrogance.

The loss of both men from the next swearing-in ceremony for MPs is a national tragedy. Some day, we will look back at this moment and weep.

But I'm not saying that the PNP delegates who voted against Crawford and who intended to vote against Pryce made the wrong call. What I am saying is that they, the good Comrades, made the dunce call.

Review all the material carried by the media about selection matters in East Rural St Andrew and North East St Elizabeth. Tell me where any opponent has ever accused either MP of being incapable of serving? Where have they been accused of only using the platform of membership in the House of Representatives to self-aggrandise?

Has the charge ever been made that they've done nothing for the youth, nothing to help the communities and constituencies develop? Have they built nothing in the almost four years since they were sworn into office? Then how come they became so reviled?

The circumstances of both men appear orchestrated by slick operators, wise to the power of the 'arrogant' label in seeking to turn critical mass among their delegate colonies against the two youth. So only an arrogant politician prioritises education over handouts. And only an arrogant politician promotes equity and fairness in the contract-award process, abandoning the age-old process of securing such arrangements for their political connects.

I have seen enough to conclude that the man who stands for sound principles in politics is a dead man walking. Ask Damion or Raymond. Perhaps both men have now learned that in Jamaica, many people will embrace a politician who's a thief. Those same people will, however, rail and call for the head of a politician they feel is arrogant.

The moral of the story is that as a politician, it's perhaps better to be a serial benchwarmer, space holder, maybe corrupt now and then, and a thief every so often, than to be arrogant for even one day.

Selah.

- George Davis is a news editor and morning host of Nationwide News Network. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and george.s.davis@hotmail.com.