GARGOYLES

During the Middle Ages, when those craftsmen built their cathedrals and other high churches, they added embellishments that, while they looked scary, actually served a useful purpose. The ‘gargoyle’ is an example of this kind of embellishment.

            The idea of the gargoyle, as I understand it, is that the gargoyle was deliberately given an evil face so as to scare off or ward off evil spirits. That was the gargoyle’s spiritual task.

            The gargoyle’s earthly task was to act as a means of directing roof caught rainwater away from the sides of the building. This was done in order to prevent the effects of water erosion caused by volumes of fast moving water running down unchanging paths and thus eating away the sides of these lofty and laboriously built structures. Those ancients were smart….and those ancients did all that without computers or even ‘leckalight. Just hand tools and commonsense.

            Nowadays, we have plenty of ‘leckalight, but we seem to go about the business of gargoyle creating in a different manner.

            Take politics, for instance. I wouldn’t have thought that anyone would see a need to create a political gargoyle – a political creature with an evil mien and a mean demeanour. It seems to go against the grain of the political process wherein the more often stated aim is to do things, or go about matters so as to garner maximum public support.

            In free and democratic societies, most normal politicians seem to smile, not grimace. Most politicians seem to ask for some kind or some show of public approbation. Most seek to present a congenial face to the public that either elects them, or gives them some kind of support.

            Of course, in some other flavours of democracies, the kind where you either support the GOTD or get jailed or otherwise badly and roughly handled; politicians see less need to smile and seek support. In these kinds of democracies, the politicians – usually operating well outside the limits of their written national constitutions and ignoring the laws of economics – see no need to do anything other than exactly as they please.

            In these democracies, as, for instance in Zimbabwe, the answer to financial difficulties is quite simple. Need more money? Print more money! No problem. Like the Germans in the 1920’s, just use a wheelbarrow instead of a wallet to carry your money around.

            So here, in my Bermuda, in a vote giving free democracy, I find it odd and most unusual that we seem to have a gargoyle politician. A politician – one politician – who finds it so incredibly easy to issue insult and spew slur. A true evil-faced political gargoyle.

            Gargoyles are attached to buildings. Mostly to high cathedrals. This political gargoyle is attached to a political party. Just as there are many facets to a cathedral, there are many other members of the political party. Just as one badly performing gargoyle will let evil spirits or water erosion damage the cathedral, so will one gargoyle politician damage all the other politicians. Even if they think – foolishly think – that they have nothing to do with him. That he is speaking only for himself.

            In the end, voters do have to put up with the politicians that the political and electing process sets over them. However, unlike worshippers in cathedrals, voters do not have to wait until the sound of Gabriel’s Trumpet and the Second Coming before change can be wrought; or before some other form of salvation arrives. Instead, at least once in every five years, voters have a chance to deal with politicians who are seen to be un savoury gargoyles. As well, voters can go even wider – if they so choose – and rid themselves of the whole bunch if they are unsatisfied with those who seem determined to support political gargoyles.

            In 2006, there is one thing that this Bermuda electorate now knows and knows absolutely. In 2006, this electorate knows that it gives power and this electorate knows that it can take that power away. This electorate has now done both. This electorate also knows – unlike the scary bogeyman promise of the ‘olden days’ – that the world won’t end if the government changes.

            But does the gargoyle and those determined to support him understand that? I think not.   Too bad!

 

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