During the last several years Rick and I have had many conversations in which we teased each other’s brain on matters of national interest. At these times Rick has tried to interest me in listening to local radio and TV talk shows, supposedly to stay current with the political groundings. I steadfastly refused to be drawn in because my poor brain has difficulty visualizing positive outcomes from the convoluted verbiage. Besides, the venom from known political hacks in search of their fifteen seconds of fame borders on mischief and criminality.
Callers to these shows are encouraged to speak what makes them mad, without a comforting word from the host. Is there value in helping such angry callers deal with the issues that confront them? Does dwelling on the negative aspects of life instead of what is praiseworthy, seem selfish and ungodly to you, dear reader? Frankly, no one promised us an easy life. Life is often filled with difficult challenges. It is why Christians are asked to take up the cross, if they wish to follow Jesus’ hard walk to Calvary.
One of the developments that has made me glad in recent times is the show of support from private citizens, businesses and government in helping children attend school with the necessary supplies. I often wonder whether the show of support is overdone. Don’t misunderstand! It would be preferable, in my books, if parents were able to provide school supplies for their kids without outside help.
Some struggling parents try hard to avoid accepting handouts, regardless of the source. Among these are parents who are barely keeping their heads above water. They are reluctant to accept gifts from persons they do not know. On the other hand there are others driven by greed. They would take and take and still not be satisfied. They couldn’t care less whose child is left behind. That sort of greed seems to make such persons mad with envy. Perhaps such people need more spiritual guidance and less material trinkets.
Sadly, the blanket of negativity does not end with free school supplies. For example, the constant probing and harassment of Guy Joseph by the former government is a case in point. How much money was spent by the former SLP government investigating Guy Joseph? When did the investigation begin, who carried it out and what was discovered? How much money was spent? Shouldn’t these questions interest taxpayers, whether it makes them mad or glad?
It was interesting listening to Rick on TALK last Thursday evening explaining the historical difference between the UWP and the SLP. That history deserves a full airing on radio and television. It was subtly suggested that some ‘SLP-graduates’ seemed stained with the mentality of the early leaders who saw the plantation owner and white capitalists as the arch enemy of the working class . . . for life! Neither time nor academic qualifications seem capable of dealing with the legacy of slavery and colonialism. Why? Why does an SLP government display a propensity for giving white capitalist investors more tax holiday and other concessions (incentives) than the UWP? This is a conundrum that defies logic, requiring fuller analysis and discussion.
In addition, the attitude of the SLP on the question of political opposition needs further study. Being forever ‘mad’ and in opposition is so ingrained that the SLP cannot settle down and govern when in office. The bickering never stops! Compare this to the UWP which seems otherwise preoccupied when in opposition, often failing to criticize the government. Some observers see the SLP approach to politics as an elaborate bluff aimed at keeping the electorate from monitoring their inner workings. That explains why they wish to forget the Grynberg oil deal, the IMPACS report, Rochamel, the massive concessions heaped on the Royalton hotel, the promises made to Sandals, etc.
The approach of these two political parties reminds one of an Aesop fable that was taught in schools a long time ago. The wind and the sun had a quarrel about which one was stronger, and the wind said, ‘I’ll prove I am.’ It pointed to an old man with a coat and bet that it could get his coat off him faster than the sun could. So the sun hid behind a cloud and the wind blew and blew until it was almost a hurricane, but the stronger it blew the more the old man held on tightly to his coat. Finally, the wind calmed down and gave up. The sun came from behind the clouds and smiled kindly on the old man. The old man mopped his brow and pulled off his coat. The sun then told the wind that gentleness and friendliness were always stronger than fury and force. There is a moral in there somewhere for those who are not too angry to see it.
There is also a lesson for those who are always complaining and bellyaching and never happy, no matter what. Little things get them mad and they seem incapable of developing an affirmative attitude. People with a positive mind-set know that bad times don’t last forever. Such
attitudes make a positive difference in the home, the community, the nation and the world. An affirmative mind-set leads to a better life because it makes people glad, not sad or mad. The positive attitude by the people and government of Saint Lucia towards the islands ravaged by Hurricane Irma is one that should make every God-fearing Saint Lucian glad, not mad!
In ending, I offer a brief summary of the first five verses of Psalm 34 in Holy Writ:
“I will praise the Lord for what he has done; may all who are oppressed listen and be glad! The oppressed look to Him and are glad they will never be disappointed.”
For good measure I add five guiding principles to live by: always express thanks and praise; stay positive regardless of the challenges; put your problems at the foot of the cross and call upon Jesus; aim for a clear conscience; love yourself and strive to be glad, not mad.