“Dems’ example not for youth”

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I want to know: what kind of mirror image do you have of yourself? There are too many people in Barbados who despise themselves, and their dislike of themselves reflects itself in their dislike of other people. – Errol Barrow (May 13, 1986)

As an avid lover of politics, debate and public speaking, I was prepared, popcorn in hand, for the broadcasting of the other campaign launch for the 2018 General Election. I turned on my computer and was confronted by a barrage of senseless abuse. Did I click on the wrong video? Was this really a political broadcast or was it an “R” rated horror show?

As a young, impressionable teen, I, like most of my peers, look to the adults around me for mentorship. We the youth seek guidance from our older siblings, our parents, our spiritual advisors, our teachers, celebrities and, of course, our political leaders, who stand at the pinnacle of our societal hierarchy. 

So I ask: what mirror image do the members of the Democratic Labour Party wish to reflect for the youth of this country after that spectacle of vitriolic bombast?

At this time in our schools where acts of violence have become habitual and commonplace, we the youth grapple on a daily basis with ways and means to practically and literally survive verbal abuse, cyberbullying, fighting, hair blazing, indecent assault, gang mauling and stabbings. As a result, we turn to our leaders for help on how to resolve conflict and manage our anger.

Is this it then? Is this the new norm? Is this the precedent . . . the guideline on how to solve a dispute? Is this the blueprint for dealing with an opponent? Confronting that person with an arsenal of abuse instead of resolving the issues at hand? Launching a vicious tirade of how they look, how they dress, how they smell, on their level of intelligence and their family tree?

At what point does one become entitled to abuse a rival in a six-hour tag team assault.

Our hope for tomorrow is to have better leaders today. Therefore, the decision made by the electorate on Thursday will be a significant determinant in the future of this country.

– KHALEEL KOTHDIWALA