Tales from the Caribbean

Seated under a large sun umbrella, we caught up on some light reading between quick dips in the pool to cool down.

Twilight of Democracy – The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism had sat on our shelf for months. It, along with other such titles of similar sentiment, recommended on one of our favourite Sunday morning news shows, suggests the best days of democracy are behind us. The theory is we are plunging into a time where “strongmen” (in the poorest sense) are taking over and the public is unaware.

We have no secrets when it comes to our times dealing with Americans abroad. Listening is far better than talking or offering opinions on that country’s horribly polarized politics. What we picked up in casual conversations was instructive but, in the end, not at all surprising. 

The vast majority of those chatting poolside and at various receptions have made the conscientious choice to avoid politics. Impatience, distrust, incompetence and lack of inspiration are several factors in choosing to unplug. Add in some talking heads and opinions designed to entertain rather than inform, and we can see plenty of people throwing up their arms in disgust. But, that is how government gets worse and that is how authoritarian operatives take root.

The least surprising point that several guests mentioned was how shallow the pool of candidates for office has become. In the U.S. they have President Biden and former president Trump – in Canada we have Prime Minister Trudeau and Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre. Are we to believe these are the best and brightest minds forging the future of democracy, or are they merely managing its decline? Where does wisdom and experience enter the conversation, let alone competence to manage such an unwieldy organization that is the federal government?

A functioning democracy takes work. To meet with success, a free press is a necessity, and an engaged public is paramount.

Let’s all do our part.

Long weekend ahead

Most residents find themselves in a predicament this coming weekend. To vacation or work is the question.

With an unusually wet spring, gardeners and farmers alike are well behind this year. Very few windows of extended sun to work land up and plant are to be found, but hopefully this weekend everyone gets a chance to make good things happen on their property.

Whether one chooses to work or take advantage of a long weekend, we hope people make good choices while travelling. Recognize though that people are busy and that includes the farm community, which shares the roads with travelers. As tempting as a pass might be due to agricultural equipment holding up traffic, be certain of that choice. Similarly, farmers should think a little too, when it comes to navigating between fields on major roads and peak traffic times. Safety concerns everyone.

Here’s to a tragedy-free weekend – enjoy it.