(Candid Conversations with a Vincy)
By A Candid Observer
Scenario #1: Mr. F goes into a church and a dynamic and charismatic preacher blessed with the gift of speaking (not in tongues) eloquently preaches the word of God. His style is attractive and his message is on point. He speaks to the issue of homosexuality as a sin. Mr. F agrees with what the preacher is eloquently saying because it is in accordance with the Bible. The preacher’s rhetoric fits what is biblically supported.
Scenario #2: Mr. G goes into a church and a dynamic and charismatic preacher blessed with the gift of speaking (not in tongues) eloquently preaches the word of God. His style is attractive and his message is on point. He speaks to the issue of homosexuality as acceptable and not a sin. Mr. G agrees with what the preacher is eloquently saying because it is preached with so much skill and gusto. He agrees even though what the charismatic preacher is preaching is not biblically supported.
Too often, I find that a lot of our people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) fall into the trap of Mr. G in scenario #2. We get sucked in by the charisma and sweet talking instead of researching what was said.
Having laid the introduction, the build-up to and after the 2020 elections (in SVG) has once again brought to the fore the importance and relevance of the art of charisma and oratory skill (skill in public speaking).
The importance of charisma and oratory skill, in politics, should not be underestimated. Our prime minister is a behemoth of a man when it comes to those traits; and his outstanding political record speaks testament to that fact. Another colossus, with those foregoing qualities, who comes immediately to mind is the former President of the United States, Barack Obama. However, these crucial characteristics are a gift and a curse. What do I mean? It is a gift for the leader but a curse for their supporters.
The by-product of having the art of charisma and gift of oratory skill (whether inherent or learned) results or can result in a large number of supporters blindly and ignorantly believing every word, every ounce of rhetoric that is put forth by the leader whom they support. I say blindly and ignorantly because these persons accept political rhetoric (as the gospel truth) even though empirical, historical and scientific data says the exact opposite of what a leader is saying. There is a saying by former US President Ronald Reagan that rings true and which we must adopt and practice — “TRUST BUT VERIFY”.
The issue of this ignorance lies with the people and not the leader. The Bible speaks to this issue in Hosea 4:6 when it says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”. This biblical rhetoric rings true, even in the political arena. Too many people get their news, information and “facts” from a leader’s mouth. How many times have you heard people give “their own” views on a political matter; then you say to yourself that those views are an exact replica of rhetoric mentioned by a politician a few days ago? Coincidence? You decide.
Now do not get me wrong. Nothing is wrong with repeating material, thoughts or views espoused by a particular leader, once those views are factual or can be scientifically supported. However, it appears that what is generally stated by a large number of supporters is usually regurgitated, incorrect and un-researched rhetoric that is inaccurate and misleading.
I want to implore, plead, beg our people of the human being party (HBP) to listen to both leaders, research what is said and then let charisma and their oratory skills be the secondary, not main, guiding factor in making an informed decision. We claim to be out of slavery; let us act with freedom of thought and not be a people known as slaves to political regurgitation.
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