There is so much that can be said about today’s politician. In contrast to yesterday’s politician that emerged in eras gone by, when the populace was perhaps less enlightened, and certainly far less forgiving, they now seem to be altogether more demanding. Can there still be both the fascination of gaining pleasure from an immensely tough job of being an active politician, or does the weighty pressures from the electorate make them fret over their plight? What happens when goals cannot be accomplished and personal efforts are frustrated by those things that are said to be politically correct but otherwise seem all wrong?
Caribbean Times, as a responsible media outlet interacting with a multiple public knows full well that the politician wears his ego on his/her sleeves but this is only checked by the people they represent. Hence, it is reasonable to say that in one single day, maybe an hour, the local politician may be seen as being sufficiently fickle as to compare with typical English weather. Notwithstanding, there has to be agreement that the pressures of political life make it awkward for family life and trusting relationships in the sincerest of senses. We all mean well for our beloved country and people; but often, the cry is that “politicians and the political class only care about themselves.” This is an unflattering and flawed logic.
The myths and story-telling that follow the politician are indicative of another reality. That is, politics is largely a perception that has become more linked to subterfuge and disguise. Technological improvements, strengthened by social media has added immense pressure to the politician’s portfolio and the things he/she need to shy away from. Words said in Otto’s can reach Bolans in a flash, and very often, if rumour gets a head start aided by a little photo-shopping, the politician’s life can be made more miserable.
These are the things that tease and taunt the politician – pleasure or plight? These things preoccupy the minds of the public. Based largely on failed expectations from the voting population, there are a number of unhappy souls that will curse the politician; or sometimes see their representatives only as personal meal tickets able to be the donor of the next dollar bill. These situations are the foundations of a bad trend that have developed as hard times sting in instances of unemployment and underemployment. The morality of the society has gripped the politician by the scruff of his/her neck, and there must always be the fear of returning to the polls to face a fight – popularity versus the reality.
Therefore, the politician’s sacrifice is threatened, and for the sake of wining or maximising one’s popularity, a mode of treating to one’s employers hurts the service that the politician ought to be pursuing. Nation can take a backseat to the survival of the political vehicle. There the irresponsible media can become like a hawk; scratching and catching everything that makes for the ultimate weapon. Caribbean Times will not venture as the vultures do; but ample cautions will be expressed warning politicians of the dangerous trends once these become noticeable.
So, to the people of Antigua and Barbuda, is there good politics and bad politicians, or is there bad politics and politicians wanting to be good? If all is vanity under the sun, then woe is the life of the politician. It takes heart, broad shoulders, a willingness to truly serve, and the inherent capacity to rebound. Caribbean Times says all of this only to suggest to the politicians on both sides that doing enough is insufficient. Try as all of our local politicians might, those in Government and those in Opposition, the perception prevails that somehow, the public is outside of the main framework. Caribbean Times knows that this is not hardly ever the case, and that is why it will seek to respect the politicians without overbalancing into making the newspaper a ‘pappy show.’
Yes, there are pleasures for the politician, but there is the plight if only from being in the spotlight. Public relations then becomes important, and good working relationships with the media become necessity. The politician’s pain or anxiety can easily mount with bad press. The wrong perception will become more rooted with every setback experienced in the economy and society because of the brutish ways that media and politics converge. Spare a thought for the complexity in the life of a politician, we owe it to those that have the guts to face a fluctuating electorate.