Politicians deserve a break for sacrifice they make
Listening to the Budget Debate over the past several days and the undignified behaviour that went on in the Honourable House of Assembly last weekend, I am reminded of a few things:
1. This is why I will probably not get into politics; I have no patience for nonsense, useless conversation, insults, sore losers, lack of decorum when appropriate, etc
2. I have to give props to those people who dedicate their lives or portions thereof to public service.
3. Public service can be a thankless job.
4. Every once in a while we should pause to acknowledge the sacrifice of those who dedicate their lives to public service.
I applaud the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Randolph Horton, for taking the misbehaving members to task. I saw the schoolteacher in him come out as he admonished the culprits to conduct themselves appropriately.
Speaker Horton being in this role brings a new dynamic to the proceedings. I am no authority on Bermuda’s political history but I don’t recall the Opposition providing the Speaker in recent times.
It will take some time for the parliamentarians to adjust to this new paradigm but adjust they must. For obvious reasons it is an easier adjustment for the OBA members because they were always going to be okay with this arrangement; it benefits them, if only mathematically.
They needed Mr Horton, someone from the PLP, or an Independent MP, to be the Speaker to strengthen their numerical voting ability.
The problem is with the PLP members, who feel betrayed by Mr Horton. I would hazard a guess that most of them wish he would not have accepted the position. It would have reduced the OBA’s majority in the House and made it very difficult for them to pass legislation, get anything done, have any flexibility in advancing policy, programmes or initiatives.
That said, I reiterate that politics is a difficult game and I offer some advice for those of us who sit around complaining about our politicians.
If you think you can do a better job put your name forward, stand up and be counted, give it a try and see for yourself how difficult it is. I’m not speaking from personal experience; I’m just a casual observer and offer my knowledge gained from friends and associates who have been in this game and/or are still in the game.
Now here’s a harsh comment: Every country gets the leadership it deserves; in Bermuda we have always voted for a particular party or other.
So really, whilst it is easy to take potshots at our representatives, I’m reminded of the axiom ‘put up or shut up’.
But that isn’t human nature; we want to complain about any and everything. However, we should remember that public service is a thankless, difficult job. These men and women have given of themselves, their time and their talent to serve our country.
They open themselves to scrutiny the likes of which the rest of us don’t have to deal with and really don’t want. The demands on their time are heavy. They don’t have the freedom or flexibility to just do simple things that the rest of us can do. They give up the privacy that most of us take for granted. Their families make this sacrifice with them.
Once you choose a life of public service; some people presume the right to pull you aside for everything, call you at any hour of the day or night, giving you very little space.
Sometimes their every move and every word is examined, almost under a microscope. Some of their comments are twisted and manipulated by the media and other critics to make a certain point, to stir up controversy and/or to ’stir the pot‘.
Some will say that everyone who chooses a life of public service knows and accepts the pros and the cons of this life. This may be true, but people are still human and in this regard, we should pray for our leaders.
We should also give praise with the same level of enthusiasm that we criticise.
Finally, every now and then we should pause to acknowledge the sacrifice they and their families make and thank them for their contribution to lead Bermuda.
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