Depending on when you tuned in to Thursday’s TALK, hosted by Rick Wayne, on DBS, you may have formed the impression that the host had gone Christian. But hold on. Before introducing Dr. Stephen King, the night’s guest, the host cited the following quote by Thomas Paine. “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead.”
Dr. King readily agreed, then added that as a pathologist he had learned that dead men do tell tales, and there was much to be learned from the dead. The host went straight for his guest’s jugular: “I can think of a number of projects in which you invested much faith, yet they never got off the ground.”
He reminded King that in 1997 he and Dr. Bristol were certain something terrific was about to happen to local health care but to date little had changed.”
King concurred, “but to say there have been no fundamental reforms may not be true.” Wayne reminded him that women continued to die in this enlightened age during childbirth. He cited a young man who was stabbed in the stomach and died 17 days later, after he was treated for indigestion.
King agreed that the reforms were moving too slowly.
“Do you ever see yourself as an eternal optimist as opposed to a realist?” Wayne asked.
King advised that people must live life “with a heavy dose of faith. You must have faith because the day you lose faith is the day you give up; and you must never give up. Yes, I do believe things will improve. I am optimistic, yes, but I am also realistic and pragmatic. I am not going to roll over and play dead.”
“Would you describe me as a man of faith?” Wayne asked.The answer came out faster than the speed of light:“No!” Guest and host almost fell out of their chairs, so hard were they laughing.
“But Doc you know that can’t be true,” Wayne said. “Everything I have ever done in my life was based on faith.” He recalled naysayers seeking to put him off when he revealed ambitions to make it big in bodybuilding. They laughed when he talked about becoming a professional writer and singer.
Regardless, he had proved his detractors wrong. “I believed in myself,” he said. “Only a dead man is without faith. But there is faith and there is stupidity. If you keep on dong the same thing over and over to no avail, that’s a sure indicator of madness. Too may people are conned into placing faith in politicians.”
King countered: “You aspired to be Mr. Universe and likewise I may want something good to happen and I may work hard to do so. You may say I am a useless optimist but I would say I am a realist.”
“If Dr. King tells me he is going to do something within his capacity,” said the host, “I have enough faith in you as a doctor to believe you will. But if what you are telling me is to have faith in politicians who are notorious liars, who have no record for doing anything right, I’d say you’re nuts.”
King confessed his faith in the people. He said civil society must now stand up and be counted. Wayne reminded him that the only time civil society came out in protest demonstrations was during the unforgettable 1979-1982 period.
“What’s especially disturbing,” Wayne went on, “is that all of this protesting happened when the Labour Party determined the country had had enough of what we called Comptonism and it didn’t matter if they had to destroy what was there in favor of something better. Things were not nearly as bad then as now. Yet we had police out with their guns in the street, teargas, banana-plantation old ladies protesting, and upheavals in parliament. Finally Castries was turned into an open cesspool. The arresting irony is that one of the people involved back then is now our prime minister.”
The two went on to discuss the numerous hardships confronting the country, the comatose economy, VAT and crime. Several callers expressed similar concerns. One politely asked King to explain the selection process employed in the establishment of the Vision Commission. Clearly King, who admitted he was appointed by the PM himself, retains his faith in the little-heard-of entity. As for Wayne, seems he remains a work in progress.