by Tony Nias,
Voting is one of the most impactful thing we can do for self and country. The vote is the basic building block that gives us the power to control our government and shape the policies we want for the future direction of our country. Whenever voters understand the power of the vote it can serve as “the great equalizer.” But unfortunately that is not always the case.
It is often said that voters have short memories, and even shorter attention spans. However, the decisions they make have long fuses. Whenever the opportunity presents itself for us to vote, we do so usually for reasons that seem quite compelling in the moment, but what we may not realize is that the effects of that vote tend to explode long afterward, with consequences that impact our children and generations to come.
The politicians who benefit from our vote all have one thing in common, they all want to be in power. In order to achieve this goal they employ the all too familiar tactics, first run a campaign that demonizes the incumbent, and second make sure it is filled with promises. Every candidate declares that he or she is the change candidate, promising a break from past mistakes and claim to represent hope for a better future. Yet election after election little seems to actually change.
Our most recent federal elections concluded just under a year ago. It was an election filled with many memorable moments, as well as the usual memorable promises. Promises of government improved social programs, we heard of a government that will be working for the people, with transparency, compassion, a commitment to the unification of our nation, and a government that breaks the vicious cycle of victimization. Well, the election campaign is over and now buried in the history books, and so are the promises and commitments.
We are all very familiar with the old saying “a promise is a comfort to a fool,” yet the evidence would suggest based on the results of the election, the promises made by the St. Kits Nevis Labour Party obviously resonated, indeed the party succeeded in comforting voters with all the promises and they won. Why did they win? They won because in many ways, voters in this country seem to be the eternal optimists who never learn from the history and experience that is readily available. We all want to believe that the same political party that was the cause of our tribulations and problems in the past, with a history of division, victimization, and economic failure, will somehow this time around be the solution and improve our lives.
The elections are over, and as the post-election reality hits, many are beginning to realize how unrealistic they were in believing that they should return to a once rejected regime, forgetting why we rejected them in the first place, thinking that somehow “this time,” the outcome would be different. I hasten to add here an appropriate old proverb that suggest that even though you cannot be faulted if you are tricked by someone once, it is however on you if you decide to trust them and you are tricked again. Put in the more familiar way, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”
The voters made a choice, and that we must respect. Even though knowing what we know we may ponder the wisdom of that choice. Voices on the streets these days is that of regret about the choice that was made on August 5th 2022. It is clear that the new faces of Labour does not equal new policies or a new modus operandi. In less than a year this administration has picked up where the last Labour administration left off, showing their incompetence, lack of compassion, disregard for promises made to the electorate, the propensity for widespread victimization, like the scorpion, its in their nature.
Talk to anyone who is or has been impacted by politics and the actions of politicians, from the businessman to the public servant, and there is clear acceptance that the matter of victimization is as pervasive, as it is real. Victimization affects entire households. There is nothing compassionate about victimizing families. It is never a great idea. Why, because as many understand today, one never knows what is around the corner. Politicians will do well to keep in mind that the victimized are citizens and voters. That is easily forgotten when power gets to the head. I have lived and experienced three Labour administrations and I can say without fear of contradiction “Labour is the same yesterday, today and forever.” The leopard that is the Labour party cannot and will not change its spots.
It is my hope that there are some lessons learnt. For one thing, in every election cycle there are issues that will seem quite compelling in the moment that we go to the polls, but will probably be long-forgotten in a few years’ time—however the choice we make will have a huge bearing on what becomes of our nation. Voters may not be expected to apprehend the longer-term consequences of the votes they cast. But we should all be mindful of the fact that when we vote we are voting on behalf of a future generation. Elections and our votes have consequences.