Expect more from those in service
For most of my life growing up in Bermuda, I have watched with interest and studied those among us who have been selected based on the manner in which they have been portrayed by those in authority, along with the use of some high-priced public relations brainwashing company, as people with true leadership qualities coming from all social and intellectual backgrounds.
These people come from across all racial backgrounds and have been selected and used by the few who support different political and social ideologies to give the population of the country the impression that they are able to run the country's affairs.
Yet, why do I have this emptiness and numb feeling at times that when these so-called leaders are presented before us in the news media and on television, some of them appear to be no more than a mannequin that is propped up to look good in a storefront window?
This Hollywood-style imagery is not just something that is seen to be done in Bermuda alone; it's just about everywhere one looks around the world, especially in America, and it makes no difference under which political system — whether it is a democracy or a dictatorship. It just seems that producing an acceptable image of an individual that is made to look good and seemingly justifiable by others is enough to satisfy the public's apparent simplistic needs.
Sir, when it comes down to the needs of the community in which one lives, it is a collective effort among all within that community to see to it as taxpayers that the necessary needs of that community are met and carried out in an expeditious manner; that's the reason why we pay taxes, am I right?
If I am correct in my observations of the above, then those who we have elected to the House are there to do the people's business and not just to perform and carry on as if actors on a stage in a theatre.
For most hard-working people who see much of their hard-earned pay being sucked up in taxes, it can be very dissatisfying and stressful when their take-home dollars are buying less and less at the store while those whom they have elected to represent them are receiving a good pay without having to punch a clock, or are receiving a pension and wonderful benefits after they have disappeared from Parliament never to be seen again. Benefits that are far greater than are reaped by those who work themselves to death each day trying to make enough to buy a simple loaf of bread to put on the family dining table.
I ask the question: are deductions such as payroll tax and pensions taken out of their paycheques the same as us ordinary blue-collar workers?
A lot goes through the minds of people who have bet their last scrapes of hope at the polls on politicians who make high-powered promises whose shelf lives exceed three or four elections; in other words, leftover promises being rehashed from previous elections that have never been kept.
It has gotten to the point, Sir, as a hard-working blue-collar worker who pays almost two thirds of their wages in taxes while they watch friends and family who have for years well-oiled connections to the national tax purse enjoy the benefits in receiving juicy government contracts and feel no way about it. Meanwhile, at the same time, we hard-working people watch our hopes and dreams just fade away, along with most of the political promises that have been long ago forgotten and have faded away with the mist of time.
Once again, Sir, I have gone to the polls with fresh hope in hand and have deposited it into the ballot box of chance.
The question I now ask is: will my hopes for a better tomorrow arise out of the ashes of the past 4½ years of misery, or will they too over time die along in the sinking sunset of the many promises from elections past?
E. McNEIL STOVELL