We can all agree on need for empathy

  • Despite differences of opinion, let us display empathy for our fellow Bermudians

    Despite differences of opinion, let us display empathy for our fellow Bermudians

There is a trend of thought among some editors and writers that the average reader will not spend more than three to five minutes on an article or column; therefore, a writer must be succinct and get their message across in fewer than 700 words.

Additionally, every so often, a writer may have a collection of thoughts on different issues that they wish to compile in one column.

Today is that day.

Welcome aboard.

Any athlete worth their salt has studied the skills and tactics of another competitor at length. Likewise, every respectable chess player has observed other chess masters. Similarly, a good politician studies those on the other side of the fence with great intent.

Over the past five years, there have been any number of notables who have been worthy of examination — some for pronunciations in Parliament, others for policies established.

For me, I love to observe someone, anyone, who appears to have a command and combination of a few key attributes:

• A clear goal in mind

• A long-term strategy

• Determination

• Ability to absorb criticism

One may not agree with the person’s plans, but they can give credit to the person for how they carried out their plans.

There is only one person in the former government of the past five years who has demonstrated that they can orchestrate and lead from both the shadows and the limelight. Someone who, despite the largest volume of public criticism any recent Bermudian politician has faced, was never deterred from achieving what they had set out to accomplish.

Someone who, despite incurring losses beyond comparison, has never altered their philosophical trajectory.

So much so that he has now taken to writing a regular column that, seemingly, is a continuation of an agenda that was soundly rejected less than six months ago.

Whether it be opining on the issues of same-sex marriage, immigration or political advice, he, like the Energizer Bunny, has never stopped beating that drum.

So, to my now fellow columnist, I say welcome aboard SS RG, former minister Michael Fahy.

Ps. Watch out for the comments section. I hear they play rough.

Empathy, or the lack thereof

Empathy: (noun) the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Over the past five years, we have seen the debate on same-sex marriage evolve from muted whispers in private places into a continuing discussion in both traditional and social media, and eventually in the hallowed halls of Parliament.

With same-sex marriage now a national conversation, we have watched those who previously had a fixed position against non-traditional relationships now champion for them, and others with a strong stance both for and against this issue become even further entrenched in their mindset.

We have seen persons attempt to condense reasons for the divide based on either secular or religious faultlines.

Others claim it as a “generational gap”.

The reality is the diverging viewpoints are based on a combination of factors, including but not limited to faith, gender, age, culture, and, yes, race.

We see that there are whites of all ages who are pro and anti-SSM

There are also blacks of all ages who are pro and anti-SSM.

The national conversation has come to the point that persons beyond our shores are now using the hashtag #boycottBermuda to dissuade tourists from visiting the island.

Notwithstanding what is going on beyond our shores, we as Bermudians are compelled by societal norms to, at the bare minimum, speak with, not at or about one another.

Heterosexuals will not be converted if they have a civil conversation with those who are gay.

Nor will someone who is gay suddenly become heterosexual if they have a mature conversation with those who do not support SSM.

Calling our fellow Bermudians names such as freaks, bigots, dinosaurs or otherwise does nothing for us as a community or as a country.

Essentially, we do not have to agree with each other, but we should show empathy towards each other.

Happy holidays

Finally, I would like to wish each and every one of you a happy and safe holiday season. Please do no overeat, overspend or over-drink.

Love you all.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm

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Published Dec 22, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 22, 2017 at 8:56 am)

We can all agree on need for empathy

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