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When it’s all over…

By Juliana Valdez

The ‘silly season’ as General Election time is referred to, is in full swing, and so is the rhetoric, the plethora of promises, the accusations and counter accusations, the blame game, et al, coming at the citizenry from all forms of media.

We have the option to listen to or view all that is being said and done with the aim of being encouraged to vote into office the individuals or party we consider to be best suited to cater to the needs of the populace.

I am, however, perturbed by the utterances, party ads and attitudes of some of the candidates and their supporters. The level of antagonism being generated by these factors are a cause for major concern.

Regardless of who wins the election, we have to remember life goes on and we have to continue living with each other in this twin-island republic.

Now don’t get me wrong! I am all for people standing up for their rights, expressing their opinions, supporting the party of their choice, etc, but it must not be one sided.

While we don’t have to agree with each other’s opinion, we need to respect the fact that we all have the right to lend our support to whomever we choose.

We have to be very careful that we do not fuel the fires of dissent, mistrust and confusion in our desire to gain points among the populace, and while promises are being made to right the perceived wrongs of the society, these issues will not disappear overnight.

What then is our role as believers in all this? The tired, old, tried and tested question continues to be asked. “What would Jesus do?”.

In order to answer the question, we need to remember what He has always asked of us, summed up in what the Church teaches as the corporal and spiritual acts of mercy.

Simply put, we should perform these acts of charity to whomever needs it and not because of the political entity they are affiliated to.

Right now, the country is fighting the COVID-19 virus with the coming to light of new cases. We are still all in danger of falling victim to it if we do not obey the guidelines we are being asked to follow.

The SEA students are anxious about the status of their exam. Parishes continue to work tirelessly to provide for those negatively affected as a result of the lockdown. The sick, shut-ins and the less fortunate among us are still matters we are dealing with.

In other words, regardless of the election fever now permeating the society, life is going on. So as the election campaign gains momentum, we must be mindful that we do not allow it to consume us to the point of being antagonistic and disrespectful to each other.

This is our society and we have to continue living together in it when the election is over. Regardless of who is victorious, it is up to us the citizens to do our part to ensure that peace and harmony reigns.

Throughout this election campaign, I found myself praying the national song, ‘God Bless Our Nation’. Maybe it is because the song beseeches Almighty God to bless our nation, our leaders and our isles. To me that blessing incorporates all that we need to sustain us in body, mind and spirit.

As this ‘silly season’ winds down, let us use the wisdom with which we have been blessed to guide our actions, our utterances and our behaviour. The young ones among us must be given the right example!