Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Political hogs love mud

Published:Wednesday | February 17, 2016 | 2:00 AM

It seems we are not likely to benefit from the scheduled political debates. The PNP has decided against it. I thought that after publication of a substantial supplement detailing accomplishments in our newspapers, the party would be eager to talk about them.

I am really loath to comment on this Holness house matter. I find it beneath repulsiveness to smear people's character and integrity. PNP hatchet man Peter Philips used this tactic in the last election when he suggested criminal investigations against Mike Henry over some road contracts. His claims turned out to be baseless, but the public only learn this after the strategy worked and they had won the election.

 

Reputation

 

Now, Holness' reputation is about to be destroyed based on malicious 'cass-cass'. If Mr Phillips knows something, he owes it to the country to say it. If not, the decent thing to do is to shut up.

Donald Trump came up with the same hypocritical 'it's not me, but people are asking, which is threatening to derail his closest opponent, Ted Cruz, over a real non-issue. Anticipating difficult questions prior to the Iowa caucuses, he claimed that he would not participate because he was disrespected. He paid dearly for that decision and was the first to arrive for the subsequent debate.

This 'con' comment started with the prime minister, and Mr Holness attempted to respond using the same word. Whatever is true, I am not sure the citizens of the country should be deprived of hearing aspirants for the job of running our affairs because of this.

Strange as it may seem, there are those who do not feel that they should have to risk their lives and compete with juiced-up fanatics for standing space between 'chillum pipes' at noisy gatherings to get some idea of the direction in which their country is being taken. Over the years, we have grown used to the suggestion that we don't really deserve to be told anything about anything. And if pressured, we can be told anything about anything. The JLP supporters that I hear supporting Holness' statement claim that the 'no GCT on JPS bill' promise and the 'JEEP' pledge justify the comment.

As far as these negative campaigning activities are concerned, history tells me that two friends who worked tirelessly, side by side, to secure America's independence, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who later became president and vice-president, respectively, had differing views by the time the next elections were due. And some pretty horrible things were said about each other.

The Jefferson camp accused Adams of having "a hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman". He was also called a fool, a hyprocrite and a criminal.

Feeling obliged to respond, the Adams camp called VP Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father", who was also an atheist and a libertine.

Andrew Holness and Portia Simpson Miller might be interested to learn that even after all this rancour prior to the 1800 US election, the friendship renewed and both men resumed writing letters to each other. They became avid pen pals for the rest of their lives until July 4, 1826 when both men died on the same day. Incidentally, that day was also the 50th anniversary of their greatest achievement - the Declaration of Independence.

 

General elections

 

One matter that I think is deserving of national debate is whether political debates should be optional, whether they should take place only prior to general elections, or once every year. Should there be a fixed election date and should general and parish council elections be held the same day? And what of the need to cut the NDM and others who aspire to political office? Do PNP and JLP members have a monopoly on good ideas? Why do we consistently treat independents and other parties with such contempt? They have something to say and should be heard.

Has it occurred to anyone that our public officials (employees) are getting away with far too much? We go through so much inconvenience to put them in office and the first thing we do is spend the next five years genuflecting before them. Can this ever make sense?

- Glenn Tucker is a sociologist and former president of the Historical Society at The Mico University College. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and glenntucker2011@gmail.com.