There are so many unknowns and uncertainties in my life but these are counterbalanced by the many other things for which I have the greatest clarity. These counterbalances include, but are not limited to, the love for my family, my affinity for all legal based television shows, an appreciation and love for Jamaican food, culture and music and the fact that I love, respect and will forever appreciate Edward Seaga, former Prime Minister of Jamaica. It‘s been quite a while since I last wrote a blog and it feels strange that this one should be about Mr. Seaga but us now being friends on Facebook has reminded me of how much I appreciate this man who Jamaica loves to hate.
In 1994 I entered university and somehow felt that the time had come to discover the world of politics from my own viewpoint. Having been brought up in a family with fanatic-like political tendencies on both sides of the spectrum, I think politics actually chose me instead of me directly choosing this passion of mine from which I have retired at the ripe old age of 35 years. I walked into Belmont Road (the headquarters of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) – then led by Edward Seaga) and to this day think it is the best decision I have ever made (well, second to marrying my husband who at the time when I met him was really a square peg for my triangular circle). In 1994 I became a member of Young Jamaica (the youth arm of the JLP) and officially became a part of a group who people love to hate – politicians. I laugh at this because Jamaicans not only love to hate politicians, they convince themselves that politicians aligned to the JLP must be more hated and criticized than any other. So I guess you are wondering why I went with the JLP instead of the PNP (the political party Jamaicans love to love). Stick a pin here for a minute: I always wonder how the JLP ever wins an election when very few people ever publicly admit to supporting us. Those non-Jamaicans of you reading this blog must be thinking that the JLP must have done something awful. Nopes, it is simply a historically rooted thought process whereby the JLP was seen as the party with the dunce people while the PNP was the party of the intellectuals. In reality JLP led governments have brought greater prosperity to Jamaica but I will allow the history books to confirm for the many who are now hollering at me for making that comment. I will not point to the fact that even now it has taken the current JLP government to finally put a dent in the spiraling crime rate that had become a scourge on our country for over a decade; neither will I point to the stability of the Jamaican dollar during Mr. Seaga’s tenure and now again under Bruce Golding vs what took place during the many years we were in opposition. I can tell you that it doesn’t help the JLP that it has members who can only be described as personalities who grate the nerves of many Jamaicans
But I digress from the main point of this blog: my love and eternal gratefulness to Edward Seaga. I can hear the criticisms being pelted at my head for saying so. Isn’t it odd that we can love the Beatles, Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Florence Nigthingale, and Vybz Kartel but be criticized for publicly stating our love and appreciation for a politician? That aside, I will never forget meeting the man for the first time: he had, and the last time I saw him he still had it, presence like I had never felt with another human being. He is one of these persons who fill a room just by entering it, without even uttering a word. Yes you can call him dogmatic or autocratic but you cannot take away his unwavering love for Jamaica, his clarity of thought, his brilliant and focused mind or his ability to get the job done. Many have asked why it is that he then remained in opposition for so many years after his leadership of Jamaica from 1980 – 1989. I can’t say I know for sure but if I were to garner a guess it would be that Edward Seaga’s personality is not one that Jamaicans can tolerate. It reminds them too much of their strict parents who used to keep them in line as kids. It didn’t help that Mr. Seaga’s focus was more on getting the job done than seeming to care what anyone thought of him. What is funny is that people still refer to his achievements and his innate abilities as some of the best that have ever graced Jamaica but they just never gave him another chance to further develop and grow our country.
Why do I say I love this individual? I do because between 1994 and when he left the party I learned a lot from him and I saw in him a drive and a determination that I can only dream of ever having. He knew how to get those around him to act and to get the job done. My daughter recently asked me if I wanted to be known for anything during my lifetime and I told her no, I told her I was fine being mom and wife. In return she communicated to me that I was being pathetic (not in those words but her response and body language made her point quite clearly). That conversation has not left me and writing this blog has brought to my mind that I am not being honest with myself. I am living a wonderful life but I am not living my life along a course that fosters my passion and greatness. Yep I just said it: I am great. I am great at helping others and at motivating and successfully advocating for anything from electricity for poor communities to ice for eskimos. I am sure my daughter had thoughts of something on a more grand scale but in actuality what I want to be known for is my ideas and actions that contribute to making people’s lives better.
More than anything else that is what, in my opinion, best represents Edward Seaga: not a desire for popular adoration or praise but a strong desire to make lives better. The question to myself is, “what can I learn from his life to help me self-actualize in mine?”