Fifty years later, what is there really to celebrate?
It’s the year of the 50th anniversary of our constitution. Wow. What a celebration; the silence is almost palpable. Like a kite on Good Friday when there is no wind or, worse, like a tradition that has died, there is no noise waking you in the morning to the sound of its hummers.
Tragic still is all the wailing, cries and struggles of a generation past who thought they were putting Bermuda on a blazing trail. If they were still alive, they would see the water they put on the stove didn’t even reach a boil.
Oppression was bad, having little or no real human rights was not good, and the Constitution was hoped to fix a good piece of that. There was always a few bad boys or those who resisted change; we knew who they were, but they were not the leading force. Nor was there the culture of today, where blindness, apathy and ignorance have taken their place.
The politicians we knew had a passion to solve matters, and we knew where they were heading. They may have fought behind closed doors, but we at least thought they were fighting to make life better for us.
We do have a constitution, but how many people know what’s in it or what its objectives are? So it means this: after 50 years, there must be something more than our constitutional status that makes life work or society thrive.
This is not an attack or an attempt to play down the rights we have gained; rather, it is more a challenge for us to examine what we have achieved with those rights we gained.
Maybe it’s not what is on paper but what’s in our hearts. OK, we cannot legislate love or what is in the heart, but until somehow we understand that the core of having a constitutional reality is based on loving the idea or notion of love for humanity, we miss a very important truth.
In fact, our problem is that we have given licence to hate. Hate has many disguises, including jealousy and envy, and part of the problem is we know that we hate one another and then tolerate it. People will block even what is good for the community for no other reason than they hate the messenger.
Hate becomes a culture and envelopes society like a flood.
How can we ask the young men to stop their violence when it is a common practice at the very top to target and victimise anyone hated. It is OK to argue for the sake of arriving at a common good, but it must be in the spirit of achieving a good. It is even OK to fight for a cause, but it’s for the cause and we must be clear on the objectives of the battle and not the personality.
In other words, if someone has the wrong idea, we should be fighting the wrong idea with good reason, not the person.
We have a constitution that allows each of us the equal freedom to speak to our truths, which also includes speaking to what ails us. Unfortunately, we just don’t have nor do most of us comprehend the electoral or parliamentary apparatus that speaks to that format of a real equality.
It is our role, in particular the role of the artist and intellectuals, to speak to the evolution of our society. We have given up the role to a system of political elitism; society has become complacent and as a result, we have inherited a collective misery and malaise.
There is no celebration because, for the most part, people don’t know what to celebrate. Given there is no sense of vision or purpose, it is almost like asking people to celebrate a calendar event. But it’s never too late to breathe life into the idea of our constitutionality by discovering a purpose.
We need a vision that will take the country forward, which can never be replaced by reminders of the struggle.
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