Growing up in Island Harbour east side, there was really nothing much to aspire to. Many of the youngsters of the village would fish either as a fun thing or as a serious money making job. Most went to St. Thomas. I wanted to go to St. Thomas and when I reached there, I was culture shocked, coming from Anguilla. Here is where I understood what it meant to know something, weather that’ll be a skill where you can master a trade or a profession that will make a difference in society. Anguilla has truly evolved from those days. In our politics, the country has evolved significantly and our people have become totally engaged. At some point, it was a conscious decision that I wanted to be a politician. I have actually lost that intuition, mostly because I have accept the fact that a five year terms is a significant waiting time for available space that is not readily available, and to occupy that space, one must engage in brutal warfare in our political culture.
Politics speaks of influence between groups or individuals for power or leadership, not limited to government only. Case in point; “Cut down those beautiful old shade trees to make room for more cars?” That would be a dumb thing to do! This was the response of a West Viginia Ecology Club when they heard what city officials were planning, they wanted to add another lane to the street. The students agreed that the lane was necessary, but was strongly opposed to cutting down the trees. The Club members did not have the power of the city government, but in their eyes, they have the right to be heard. The question is “what is politics? The astuteness of a politician must be capable to appeal to reason and compromise. “Politics is actually competition between interest groups or individuals for power or leadership, but also the science and art of governing and guiding or influencing government’s policy, the science and art of winning and holding control of government.” Which is more important in politics, Ideas or personalities? In reference to a run for the US House of Representatives, the class was asked to think this answer over very carefully and to consider weather they’ll chose their candidate because of his or her ideas or because they liked that person. The words of the professor, “If ideas were most important to making a choice at the polls, you’re probably closer to the politics of the Soviet Union, Italy and Germany than the United States. America’s government at best is “for the people, by the people.” Leaders rule by consent of the governed.
Professional politicians must know how to influence people, large numbers of people. The way you do that is by making them feel better about themselves. This is the philosophy of American Author Townsend in his best seller book “Up the Organization” compared to his Italian counter part Niccolo Machiavelli who believes that people must not be trusted. “People are selfish and dishonest; a politician must be watchful and crafty. If you trust too many people you will surely lose everything.” “His best seller book “The Prince” went on to say, “Politicians live in a dangerous world, it is good to make people afraid of your power, just as other beasts are afraid of the lion. It is better to destroy your enemy than to injure him.” “Men ought to either be well treated or crushed” because friends will remain friends if you treat them well; but if you distrust a friend then it is best to crush him entirely.” “Show no mercy; destroy him before he destroys you” Most politicians will respect a leader who shows the power of the lion, but one must also be like the fox, otherwise you’ll be overcome by those who approach with a smile and bring along a trap. “You must be both the lion and the fox.”
The American said, “People must be helped. “Up the Organization” is based on Social science theory of human values “climbing the social ladder.” If you want people to do their best, you must understand their needs. “All people have needs that are not yet satisfied.” I’m cold, I can’t protect myself. Am I better off today than I was last year? People who are scared of losing their jobs or freezing to death are not motivated by the need to feel good about themselves it takes human understanding to know where one person is on the social ladder. Townsend’s philosophy is that, the foundation of government is to help people meet their needs and politicians must know where whole groups of people are on the ladder. Barrack Obama recently said “I am constantly thinking how to create ladders for people to climb into the middle class. (Anguilla) Our democracy is hinged to Western civilization which makes our politics very similar to that of America. Have we ever asked our selves how well our politics work for us? Is our social ladder part of our advancement?