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The announcement everyone was waiting for has been made; and now we can expect meetings and canvassing, and all the things we associate with what is called “the silly season”. It arouses many reflections in my mind.
One of these has to do with the death of politicians. It is remarkable how many speeches are made – by all members of the Legislature – praising the same person, who, until death, was the subject of abuse and ridicule. Do not speak evil of the dead, we know. But there are many who wonder about the sincerity of what they hear.
Another reflection has to do with what goes on in platform speeches. Surely, we are justified in asking for no character assassination.
There is a tendency to feed the electorate with gossip about one’s opponent(s), knowing that people will hold on to what they hear and not seek to ask: What is the truth? Surely, we are justified in asking for no misrepresentation of one’s opponent (individual or party) in an effort to scare people into voting against them, rather than just for one’s party. Surely, we are justified in asking for no abusive language about others; there really is no need for name calling or disrespect. Debate can be rigorous without being false or slanderous.
One would wish that the Electoral and Boundaries Commission had some mechanism to monitor and deal with this activity. They do not, as far as I know; so we have to rely on the goodwill and prudence of the players. Everyone seems to believe that this is going to be a nasty campaign. When the dust settles, the winners enter the Legislature with the title: The Honourable.
Let us hope that the title is not ironic, and that it has been honourably won.
– THE REV. CANON NOEL TITUS