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Defining the OBA

November 17, 2011

Dear Sir,

The OBA is a blank slate. Their website and their pronouncements run to statements like “We will put Bermuda first”, or “We will lead by example”. These are the things any politician wakes up saying. They fill up air time and page space. What are they saying really? How will they fix education? What is their immigration policy? Are they going to have police foot patrols in bad neighbourhoods? What is the image they wish to represent? None of that is clear. The OBA is a blank slate. So I am going to write on it.

Citizenship: How are we a nation and people? We are all citizens. That means we have duties and we derive benefit from working together. It also means we make a spiritual commitment to the idea of community. For a long time, no one has really talked about this but societies work when people participate. In order to participate they need leadership. The leadership, in defining direction, has to listen marching at the head of the line with head turned to those behind. And those behind have to speak up. They have to criticise but they also have to have ideas and possible solutions. And they have to listen to each other. If education is a problem, citizens have to forcefully and continually address the issue to the government. Not for months but for decades. When a solution is chosen, from within the community (not a foreign expert) the citizens have to get behind it.

Bermuda is not a place a person is born into, lives for awhile, gets some stuff from government, makes as much money as they can, gets as happy as they can, and then dies. The person who thinks this, is not a citizen. They are a person present but not necessary, good meat for devious politicians. In fact, Bermuda is a product of the people who live there. If government is distant and opaque, the people have to change it. If the people are not involved in politics, their leaders have to encourage the idea of a nation, and so lead. A government should encourage the creation of participants; citizens. Then perhaps citizens can be led to validate and energize the policies of government; policies that reflect citizens.

Bermuda will never be independent. No country is. It will change its status. It may one day be its own sovereignty, but it will always negotiate with its neighbors to take advantage of its situation. We are a nation, no matter who gets to sit in the upper left hand corner of the flag. Small dependent nations can do very well in this world of huge nations because they move quickly and quietly. But to be Singapore or Switzerland or Finland, we need to think as a country, not as a place some people accidentally got born into.

There. The OBA can run with that if they like.

JOHN ZUILL

Pembroke

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Published November 18, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 18, 2011 at 8:52 am)

Defining the OBA

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