Time For Honest, Objective Debate (Gleaner Letter)

THE EDITOR, Sir:

AS A maturing society, it is now past time for us to change much of the style and content of national public discourse.

On the subjects of capital punishment and homosexuality, for instance, we have continued, over many years and in all media, to rant and rave at each other in a ‘dialogue of the deaf’ – debates that are often full of sound and fury and not much else.

Other social and political issues are also ‘debated’ in similar style, often with the generous addition of malicious, tribalistic labelling and counter-labelling, and other forms of character assassination and personal abuse.

As we approach our 50th anniversary as an independent nation, it is time now for us to change the way we generally speak and listen to each other.

It is time for us now to listen more carefully to UNDERSTAND what is being said and to be able to respond to issues objectively, coherently and in civil ways, rather than to engage in shouting matches, in blind defence of one side or the other, with none listening carefully to the other.

It is time to stop regurgitating old arguments for and against capital punishment and homosexuality, that are stridently and blindly presented, often without logic or genuine objective research, but with much anger, animosity, fear, pseudo morality and self-righteousness, and not a little ignorance.

We must now confront the issues of capital punishment and homosexuality squarely and honestly, making decisions that are sensible, logical, reasonable and in the national interest.

We must stop saying, with a straight face, that capital punishment is NOT a deterrent to murder or that capital punishment cannot be implemented for murder of any kind, until we have a PERFECT justice system.

Get the facts

Also, we must stop pretending that homosexuality is ‘good and right’, or that all Jamaicans are absolutely and violently intolerant of persons with a homosexual orientation. We must understand and honestly acknowledge that there is a difference between homosexual or other sexual tendencies and the practice of buggery or other forms of either homosexual or heterosexual abuse.

Most important, as we look forward to our next election in approximately one year from now, we must change the way we speak and listen to each other, as we discuss national economic and political issues, taking responsibility for understanding and discussing issues clearly in order to ensure that when all is said and done the best decisions are made by individuals, by civil society and by our political leaders in the national interest.

I am, etc.,

Carlton A. Gordon

carltongor@gmail.com

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Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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