THE EDITOR, Sir:
"Reason is a slave of passion." (Hegel, German philosopher.) "Most times, the worthless men are the real charmers." (frustrated Jamaican woman)
"Who is gonna tell me lies and let me think the truth."(Gregory Isaacs, reggae artiste)
"The strongest and most-qualified leader emerges where there is a clean-fought contest for leadership.'' (Bert Samuels, attorney-at-law. The Gleaner, Tuesday September 10, 2013)
Electioneering and courtship which give the chance to choose a future leader or partner do have some common characteristics.
CHARACTERISTICS TO LOOK OUT FOR
1. There are enticement, excitement and high expectations.
2. Passion and excitement not only take precedence but most times gain preference over purposeful pursuit.
3. Charm or charisma and promises are quite often not matched with competence and performance.
4. People generally are attracted to, identify with and choose or endorse those who have similar views or mindset as theirs.
Vision, plan, articulation, mobilisation, organisation, implementation and reputation are the main categories by which the effectiveness and suitability of political leaders or candidates can be assessed.
For an opposition, victory at the polls and gaining state power are always of paramount importance. Hence, greater emphasis is placed on the leader or potential leader's ability to effectively articulate, mobilise and organise; that is to energise the party's base, woo and win new supporters and ensure victory. In government, there is the automatic shift in importance to vision and plan and the leader's effectiveness at implementing policies.
But as many frustrated Jamaican women may have come to realise, the best or better charmers do not necessarily make better partners or fathers.
Many factors, especially a leader's winnability, influence the way we choose our leaders and quite often balanced reasoning is not at the forefront. Our personal passions and interests are always dominant factors. And for these reasons, I do not believe it is the best leader who is always elected.
A party has to win in order for its vision to be realised. But what is of paramount importance for national development, a leader's ability to win elections or the ability to govern? The Jamaican constitution does not mandate the winning party leader to be prime minister. Will any of our political parties strategically (some day), in the interest of national development, elect a party leader who can ensure victory, but after victory select to be prime minister the person most capable of formulating and implementing policies?
Daive R. Facey