Verdict: tears for souvenirs
“You can say what you want about me, but don't you dare talk about my momma.”
Those are the well-worn words of many a Bermudian man, who might allow the most vile insult to be mouthed about his father, but then will “go Casemates” to stand up for his mother — sometimes over the most mundane difference of opinion that has spilt terribly out of control owing to a few poorly chosen words.
Why? Because we are out of a woman. All of us. And we love our mommas. Unconditionally.
Although chosen second, it is arguable that the woman is God's greatest creation. That man is prepared to go to such lengths to reduce the primacy of the woman by searching for scientific breakthroughs that would lead to male reproductive independence shows how tilted the world has become — in the name of science.
Primordial germ cell research and artificial womb, or ectogenesis, technology are at the heart of the workings from Gurdon Institute researchers at the University of Cambridge. And their hope is that by the end of the century, two men could have a baby via stem cells and an artificial womb, negating the need for a woman.
Without appearing to seem insensitive to the ambitions of some, it is to be hoped that this breakthrough remains centuries still away — if ever.
The woman is not to be challenged as the child-bearer; as the feeder; as the nurturer; as the natural giver of love.
They feed us, they clothe us. They are the single parents in 99 per cent of single-parent families.
Life, before the scientists get all Star Wars on us, is not possible without them. They are special. They are to be cherished, not objectified. We do not choose who is worthy to be respected as a woman and who is not; they are all worthy.
That is how we are taught and raised: “Respect women, son.”
Young men are also advised to find a good woman to settle down with. But in finding that some may be “not so good”, that old teaching still holds true: “Respect women, son.”
Our courts have declared that the Leader of the Opposition did nothing wrong when he made comments about women who happened to be political rivals. “You swim with the sharks, sometimes you get bitten” appears to be the convenient way to explain away a November day when the air turned blue.
But at the end of the day, at the end of a prolonged saga that took nine months to unravel, they are women first, politicians second — and many, many women in this country are outraged.
Wherever one turns in the aftermath of this judgment, there is head-scratching and condemnation. One half of the population feels abused; perhaps a fraction fewer than one half publicly, depending on political persuasion. What say the men, then?
While not mistaking that the correct decision may have been arrived at, given the case that was put forward by the prosecution, a dangerous precedent looks to have been set in how a person of either sex can be treated publicly in the name of politics.
The language that was repeated in court as evidence was vile; no other adjective is required to describe it.
“No way to speak to a lady,” you advise your son. Why? Because every woman is a lady in the genteel sense, whether you know that to be true or not. That is the show of respect that is due to every and anyone of the fairer sex.
But we are a new Bermuda and respect, when there is so much at stake, has become a lost virtue. This is to be seen almost everywhere as the moral compass spins uncontrollably south, so it is not the sole domain of warring politicians.
However, it is to the leaders of our country that we look for an example, and occasionally for guidance. Nothing of the sort. Individually, during their best moments? Maybe. But as a collective? Fat chance.
The decline of grace across the floor of the House of Assembly, where the tone and invective are like something out of a backstreet alley, is horrifying. To prepare to listen in on what is meant to be parliamentary debate is at times akin to setting yourself up for another shocking episode in this disturbingly popular era of reality TV. Far from the debates in the House of Commons in Westminster and in the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill, where they are no saints themselves, but where the level of debate reduces our discourse to Third World status in nature.
And for how long has Bermuda claimed not to be of Third World status? Oh, how the scales have been tipped — and we're hurtling downhill. Inexorably. And caught up in this avalanche of hateful, bile-ridden how-do-you-dos is the love and respect of a woman.
We are left with tears for souvenirs of what we once were, with no end in sight to the hate that consumes and destroys.