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Too many people are silent

Despite numerous talk shows and other forms of expression in our society, there are still too many people who for whatever reason, choose to remain silent when decisions are being taken that may not be in their best interests.

To begin with, it is no crime for anyone to disagree with a Government policy. In fact Government should expect reaction on issues where sensitivity is extremely high, especially in the area of health care.

In part, this is because the public does not have a clear sense of what what Government is doing to reduce the Island's severe debt that is troubling just about everyone.

What's even more troubling is that many people strongly feel, rightly or wrongly, that the previous administration played monopoly with taxpayers' money, and did not plan for a rainy day. The Government of the day cannot escape the criticism that people feel that had there been more thoughtful planning in keeping the public purse healthy, much of the situation we face now might not be so severe.

The strength of any democratic Government largely depends on how well they communicate with the people on major issues, with the single objective of ensuring that whatever is done, is in the best interest of the people. The people usually know the difference between what is working for them, and what officials think is working for them.

Most would agree that health care can be a complex issue with many factors to consider. However when it comes to our seniors, many of these people are not having an easy time struggling in the shadows of a system they feel falls short, at a time when they need it the most.

These seniors who toiled for the country over the years, are not expecting a handout from anyone, including the Government. They simply want health care to be sound and inclusive, with no senior unable to get the care they need. It is possible that there are too many silent people in this area. Simply because we do not see someone suffering, does not mean they are not.

History teaches us that the price of keeping silent is high. Speaking up also carries a price, but it is usually one worth paying, in order to effect change.

In the Middle East, there are now many people willing to pay the ultimate price in order to have a say in how their country is run. Most people around the world heard Moammar Gadhafi tell reporters that all the people of Libya loved him just before he sent out his armed forces to slaughter them.

For some 40 years, many Libyans were silent in their views concerning his brand of running the country. Of course in the country of the dictator, it is nearly suicidal to express opposing viewpoints. However as the world becomes a smaller place via communication systems that shine light in every corner, the day of the dictator is fast drawing to a close.

Bermuda thankfully oes not compare to those countries, but we need to learn that respectfully expressing an opposing view is a part of true democracy, and not something to be crushed underfoot. Those folks who demonstrated to preserve portions of Tucker's Point as a vital part of Bermudian ownership exercised their rights. Even those favoring further development at the site should respect that.

Our country is too small for some people to be left out in the cold, while others enjoy the sunshine of basic freedoms.

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Published March 24, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated March 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm)

Too many people are silent

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