Protecting stability should be our greatest priority
The future of Bermuda should never be placed under threat over political differences that run so deep that whenever a General Election rolls around, emotions between supporters can escalate to a point where, even in our small society, a type of political civil war emerges with an undercurrent of racist attitudes that affect just about every area of community life.
Our politicians on both sides are fully aware of this, and because of our struggle over the years to move Bermuda out of the era of social injustice to the higher ground of justice for all, emotional wounds are not yet fully healed.
However, there will be no brighter tomorrow if there is no collective willingness to learn from the dark yesterdays, understanding that the past cannot be rewritten, but out of the lessons along the way, a better future can be carved with a more cohesive approach on all matters with honesty, transparency and truth as essential qualities to move forward and make Bermuda better.
Those qualities too often are shoved to one side in the heat of political rhetoric, especially when political agendas take precedence over what the people want from those in authority.
In the weeks ahead, politicians on both sides need to be mindful that the electorate is wary over statements designed to invigorate a support base, and when they sense any deviation from truth concerning an issue, it matters when they step behind the curtain to make a decision in selecting people to keep the island moving forward.
In the best of democracies worldwide, politicians are known to make promises aimed mainly at maintaining a support base that will seldom question how objectives will be met. These are known as diehard supporters who are found in any democratic setting. Nothing wrong with that, except there are times when common logic dictates that adjusting a view might be more constructive than accepting something simply because it comes from the party one is supporting.
That can be quite challenging in our atmosphere, which is still shrouded in racial undertones, and nothing brings this out more than a General Election. However, with significant social progress over the years, our leaders should make it clear to their supporters that any election based on race alone is an election dragging yesterday’s negatives into the present. That will never work as Bermuda continues to evolve into a diverse society.
There has been talk that the pre-election campaigning could get quite nasty with bitter exchanges between the One Bermuda Alliance government and the Progressive Labour Party over various issues, and while democracy generally produces the opportunity for free expression, there is no just reason for allowing gutter-type exchanges that disregard respect for opposing views. Bermuda is far more important than any political party and this our politicians must understand. Irrespective of the election outcome, there should be no gloating or moaning since we have many problems that can only be solved with total co-operation between the Government and the Opposition, with the single objective of serving the people in the best way possible.
That we are so politically divisive makes that challenge even greater. We have children of all races and ethnic groups learning in our schools and playing together without a thought about differences, unless like the song from the Broadway hit South Pacific, they are taught to dislike others who are different from them. Bermuda could become an example to the world in showing that common values of decency, truth and respect are the social ingredients that make our island so special.
To reach that goal, and it is reachable, our core family values must never be allowed to fade through a multitude of cyberspace distractions and other negative elements that chip away at our value infrastructure. Our leaders of today must keep that in mind as they prepare for a new chapter in our political history. It is vital that stability and continuity for the island is protected.
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