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Devon Dick: Born Losers or Brave Servants

Published:Thursday | March 10, 2016 | 3:00 AM

Recently, some persons who offered themselves for representational office in the 2016 deneral election and lost for another time were described as "distinguished commanders of the 'Order of Born Electoral Losers', having lost four or more consecutive elections" (February 26). However, it could be that these persons are brave servants.

The article said that in the context of politics the world over, there have been winners and losers, and under the caption of 'Born Losers', namely, Astor Black with nine losses, Joseph Witter with five losses, Dennis Messias with five losses, Patrick Roberts with four losses and Phyllis Mitchell with four losses, as the examples.

However, persons ought to be commended whenever they offer to serve people via the route of representational politics. Once the person is running for office - not for self-promotion and self-aggrandisement - then they should be commended for the effort. These persons have placed themselves for public scrutiny and open themselves to vilification, and that is commendable when done to represent the interests of the constituents.

When they offer themselves for elective office and have a desire to be part of a process to initiate and enact just legislation then they should be celebrated. If the desire of these persons is to protect and uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land then they are to be praised and not set up for ridicule. If persons offer themselves to the electorate in order to develop the constituency and the parish then that is laudable - win, lose or draw. The most important issue is the offer to be a servant.

 

CHIEF SERVANT

Jesus said, "I am not here to be served but to serve", and He also said, "I stand among you as a servant" (Luke 22: 27). To offer to serve people is admirable and the more times the better, especially if the offer was not accepted. Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding was on to something good when he described himself as 'Chief Servant'. The posture of candidates should be a desire to help if it even means engaging in menial tasks. This person must not be going after titles and office but be willing to support others and engage in loving action for others. Once the desire is to see that children have schoolbooks and uniform and people can bury their death decently, etc., then that is good. The motive for offering to serve is far more important than the result of a general or local government election.

In addition, these persons might be brave because some might be challenging the system of garrison politics where electors are intimidated to vote according to their conscience. Furthermore, a candidate could be giving electors the opportunity to see beyond a two-party democratic system. It could be that they are brave servants of the people.

 

BE CAREFUL

Former USA president, Abraham Lincoln, would be described by some as a born loser because he had about eight electoral defeats, twice failed at business and had a nervous breakdown when his fiancee died! Eventually, he became the 16th president (1861-65) and is revered as one of the greatest USA presidents. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which began the process of freedom for the enslaved black Americans. We need to be careful about calling people born losers.

There is also a tendency to belittle people who run for elective office. This is evident even for those who are successful at the polls but are seen as inferior to those who get appointed to the Senate. There is an inherent contempt for people who offer themselves for service through election, which is unhealthy and unbecoming.

- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.