Sun | Oct 24, 2021

Letter of the Day | Anderson shutout in the public interest

Published:Thursday | February 1, 2018 | 12:00 AM


I write apropos of The Gleaner's editorial of January 31, 2018, titled 'Going too far on Anderson travel ban'. The Gleaner notes that while it abhors Steven Anderson's anti-gay and anti-woman views, he, nonetheless, and consonant with Jamaica's rich democratic tradition, should have been given passage to speak, unmolested.

But I think the good editor is confused, for the business of political discourse is too important a task for the wild wielding of empty platitudes. Mr Editor, lest ye forget, this isn't a game of street-corner dominoes.

For instance, this symbol for democratic dialogue that The Gleaner has embalmed in Mr Anderson, a man who argued in September 2016, on the airwaves in Botswana, that gays should be "stoned to death" exposes its own fragility. Now, unless the Jamaican Government is prepared to license the execution of those deemed gay, his banning, quite naturally, strikes a chord of sense and sanity, as well as advancing the Government's interest of security of all citizens.

One can only wonder if said man were to advocate the fatal stoning of Gleaner journalists, whose 'fake news' would deem them irredeemably guilty, would this newspaper argue, with equal fervour, that all views must contend? I imagine not.

As any mature scholar of government would tell you, limits on democratic actions need not necessarily undermine the project of democracy itself.

The Jamaican Government has historically failed to protect the rights and dignity of countless gay Jamaicans. In one of the few notable moments that it has, as seen with the Anderson ban, can we not mar this occasion with mechanic logic and vacuous claims of free speech denial, but instead applaud the Government's resolve to value all its citizens' welfare?