Renwick Rose’s defense of what are now called physically challenged people news784.com/opinion/disability-is-not-inability-by-renwick-rose/) is a mischievous misrepresentation of a metaphor employed in a radio announcement by the Vice-President of the New Democratic Party (NDP), St. Clair Leacock, that the reason for the imminent departure of Arnhim Eustace from electoral politics is because, “He has had operations on his knees, and you can’t run if you can’t walk” (“Eustace to hang up boots,” Searchlight newspaper, Friday, May 24).
Still, this metaphor comparing the contesting of a political seat to physically running in a race is laughably disingenuous.
Recall that the United States of America’s longest serving president, Franklyn D. Roosevelt, won four elections in a row while being crippled from the waist down because of polio. Roosevelt, arguably one of the greatest leaders America has ever produced, first attained the Presidency in 1933 during the height of the Great
Depression whose devasting effects he helped ameliorate with his New Deal policies. FDR, as he was popularly referred to, also spearheaded the American effort against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan during the Second World War.
As Commander-in-Chief of the American armed forces Roosevelt approved the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan in 1945 which quickly resulted in that country’s unconditional surrender. Talk about wheelchair power!
Recall also that other American Presidents, like many of their counterparts around the world, have also had their share of serious health issues while in office. John F. Kennedy, for example, is known to have been heavily medicated during his short term as President as a result of suffered from long-standing gastrointestinal disease, Addison’s disease, and Second World War injuries causing chronic back pain.
As for Mr. Eustace, not being physically surefooted is the least of his political handicaps.
Recall that he was still the high-profile leader of the NDP when he retained his East Kingstown seat in December 2015 by a mere 149 votes, or 51.3 percent of the ballots cast.
His opponent, political neophyte Luke Browne, a young and appealing rising star in the ULP, is now the highly visible, workaholic Minister of Health while Eustace has been reduced to a rank-and-file NDP parliamentarian. Those 149 votes and many more like it could easily disappear if Mr. Eustace were to run again.
In politics, you shouldn’t run if you can’t win.