I recently asked a friend of mine in Grenada if she would be voting, she said she wasn’t sure and I was actually surprised.
I didn’t ask her reasons but I guess that she was waiting to hear a good reason why she must vote; I have no doubt she echoed the sentiments of many other people who may choose not to vote in the upcoming elections.
I am always disappointed to hear people opting out of voting when I think of the struggle that our forebears experienced so that they could have a voice in the political process in determining who they felt were the best persons to govern their country and who would look after the interests of everyone and not just a select few.
I am also reminded of the millions of people around the world who never get to be involved in this process, they do not have that right.
But even as I am disappointed to hear that some people will not be voting I am pleased to know that there are many others who will express their opinion through casting their vote on Election Day so that they are part of the process of charting the future of our nation.
At the end of the process, as people are celebrating, who really will be the real winners? The real winners must be the people, for those who voted and even those who did not.
As we come closer to Election Day, we will continue to be encouraged to vote for one party over another. Each party will be ‘selling’ the product they want you to buy and they have thrown in the extras, the frills to help entice us; each party is claiming their product is best.
Some will say don’t change what you have because ‘you know what you have but you don’t know what you will get’. Others will say it is time for change. But no matter what happens, whoever is elected, things cannot remain the same; policies, ways of doing things must change because we are in a changing world, the society is changing, people’s needs and expectations are changing.
There will be many external and internal influences which will come to bear on the society and will have to be dealt with. A new vision and direction is needed, regardless of which party is successful on elections day.
I have asked people to do work for me and I have been pleased and sometimes disappointed with the work they have done. I expect good work from them, seeing that I am paying. But no matter the end result, I will still say thank you for the work done; if it is bad work then they can be sure I would not employ them again.
I am, however, under no obligation to thank them because they did what they were paid to do. If they have done good work, there is still no obligation on my part to employ them again. Who I employ or not is dependent upon what my current needs are, and who I believe can best deliver on what I want. That is my choice.
If I employ someone to do a particular job, then that is what I will pay them for, I do not expect them to do anything other than what I employed them to do and neither should I feel that they are doing me a favour.
In fact, I am the one who is doing them the favour by giving them work. We will all admit though, that if a contracted person goes above and beyond the call of duty, while we are not obligated to engage them again, a strong performance will work in their favour.
At the end of all this campaigning, when all the dust settles, one party will come out on top. Then the real work begins, and now the promises have to be delivered on.
As election draws closer the excitement will grow as people support their party and passions will be high. But at the end of it all, who really are the winners – the party, the elected persons or the people?
To my mind, the real winners must be the people because those elected are there – not for themselves or to give their party control, but they are really to be in the SERVICE of the people; the people must come first. And the people must never be a means to an end, but they must be ends in themselves. Those elected must be true servants of the people.
St Thomas Aquinas said that the political sovereign has his authority from God, and the purpose of this authority is to provide for the common good. And authority is never to be used as an end in itself or for selfish ends. And he further states that the common good must not be interpreted in such a way that the individual is lost within the collective whole.
The few elected must realise that they work for the rest of the country and are there to provide for the needs and well-being of everyone. They are not there as masters; the people are not their servants.
The vote of approval they receive is not to give them license to do whatever they want, but rather to be busy about the concerns and affairs of the people as a whole. Yes, there is always need for development in a variety of ways, there is always the need for proper roads and other infrastructure — but that is not all that’s needed; people also need and expect better healthcare and more educational opportunities for all persons in our society.
There is also the need to ensure that the most vulnerable in the society are properly looked after and children and women are protected from abuse. Young people need guidance, they also need opportunities and a sense that they can contribute positively to the development of their country.
The social structures must be such that everyone benefits – but those who are not as able should be first; the elderly and less fortunate cannot be an afterthought when it suits the purposes of politicians and civic leaders.
The poor did not just spring up overnight but have been there all along and will still be there in the future. Jesus did say we will always have the poor with us. The country needs men and women who will serve, and ensure that everyone in society can have a decent standard of living.
People must feel that they can go about their business without fear and intimidation from anyone and they want to feel that they can express their concerns and know that they can challenge those whom we have elected to serve them when they see that they are not busy about the affairs of those who elected them and even those who chose not to vote.
And people also want to feel that laws and policies are just and promote the common good. It cannot be a free for all at the expense of the people of the nation – because whatever benefits are gained from investments must be felt by all the people and not just a few.
This election is not just about those whom are elected, or who may be the best for the country as it moves into the future. But this is more about the people who will do the electing. Those whom are elected must be men and women of integrity and honesty and must be accountable to the people who elected them.
This election is about the future of the country as a whole. No one knows what the future holds but what happens at the polls on Election Day will set the stage for whatever is possible. It is about doing what is your right to do, to vote for whom you want to serve you. And it is also your right to demand answers to important and relevant questions when asked.
The type of persons elected will say who you are as Grenadians. This is your moment, and God is blessing you with this opportunity. You are being asked to make an important decision but you must pray and ask God to lead you in this decision. God is the only one who knows the hearts of those who want to be elected.
God knows them far better than you can ever. In the end, you are not looking for perfection but you are looking for men and women whose only goal is to be in service of the people.
Why not vote for someone whom you strongly feel will serve you rather than someone who only wants to govern and exercise their power over you? Whenever we look at Jesus and his character, we see a man who was powerful, but gave it up so that he could be in the service of his people.
Perhaps those who are hoping to be elected and want to be in the government will truly live in the character of Jesus Christ, gladly serving their people. If it is not about service, then do something else; there is just too much at stake because people’s lives are at stake.
God will reveal to those who seek him, what his will is for them. And Jesus tells us to cast our burdens on him and we can be sure he will not desert us in our time of need.
Let Jesus be your guide into the future by first allowing him to guide your present, and the decision we make on Election Day. Do so with a clear conscience, under no obligation to anyone.
Pray that no one will undermine the process and that the true will of the people will be respected and upheld.
You must trust that no matter what happens, God is still in control and God will bring everything to a good conclusion.
The Patriotic Soul