When Politicians Cry

THE ongoing debate concerning United Workers Party (UWP) Political Leader Allen Chastanet’s emotional meltdown at a recent press briefing raises a serious question: Are politicians’ tears and/or show of emotion sincere?

Ever since choking back on words while explaining an encounter he said he had with a mother of four in Bruceville, Vieux Fort who could not afford the high cost of sending her children to school, Chastanet has become the laughingstock of many who accuse him of both fabricating the story and faking his emotions.

The truth is that Chastanet is not the first – and definitely will not be the last – politician to be accused of staging such an act. Prime Minister Kenny Anthony choked up as he spoke at his swearing-in ceremony following the 2011 general elections. Former Prime Minister Sir John Compton, too, must have shed a tear or two following the infamous Super 8 incident in 2007.

Farther afield, U.S. President Barack Obama shed a few tears when he thanked his campaign staff on the night of his re-election in November 2012. Even Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, choked up at a press conference following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2011.

Whether or not Chastanet’s teary-eyed moment was genuine, only he knows. The fact, however, is that the nature of politics is such that virtually anything politicians do will come under intense scrutiny. After all, history is replete with politicians pulling at the heartstrings of the masses in order to secure their political agendas.

What might strike many people as odd is Chastanet’s recollection of the scene where his alleged encounter with the mother would have taken place: a key stronghold in the Prime Minister’s constituency. As such, Chastanet’s insinuation of single mothers in the Prime Minister’s constituency finding it hard to get by would obviously ruffle a few political feathers.

While leaders are expected to be tough, the bashing of them – especially the men – when they show forms of emotion might very well contribute to the spate of suicides among men. Many studies indicate that men are more prone to attempt suicide than women, mainly because men are practically raised to exude a great deal of machismo. How ironic that we are espousing that men express their emotions then chastising them when they do.

With a general elections campaign virtually underway here, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether another politician would dare get emotional in public for fear of being accused of scoring cheap political points. But it would be good to know that politicians do cry in private, though, especially since the electorate seems to be the ones constantly crying out for something to be done about their plight.

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