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Turning a page in American history

Bermuda has always been associated with much of American history, which included involvement in a civil war that almost destroyed that nation. It was fought mainly over the issue of human rights for all, as ending slavery ushered in a chapter of new challenges that persist today.

Even when slavery was abolished on paper, after thousands of Americans had perished mostly in the Southern fields of battle, an even greater battle lay ahead, as America tried to rediscover itself.

In its midst were those who wanted history to stand still or for the clock to be turned back. The war itself was over, but the real fighting for true justice was just beginning.

There would be many dark days of struggle, with more lives lost, in seeking justice and freedom for former slaves and their offspring, and the toll would include brave black and white Americans who rejected the post-slavery structure of institutional segregation that ran counter to basic goals of the Constitution, which entitled all Americans to be treated as equals regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.

There is no question that America has come a long way from the darkest part of that journey when eight years ago the nation elected Barack Obama as president, the first black man to reach what many thought was an unreachable, distant dream.

Although many felt a new day had dawned in the American culture, others knew total healing from emotional wounds from a period of gross injustice was not over. They knew the inner spirit of Americans accepting each other as full citizens across the land would take decades to achieve.

America at the moment is poised to make another significant decision this year, in choosing someone who it is hoped will champion the struggle to get the inner spirit of America to burn brighter in the area of respect and decency, as they attempt to create a stronger and more prosperous nation for future generations.

Bermuda has enjoyed a long and significant relationship with America, throughout war and times of peace, and it is that foundation that keeps most Bermudians always wishing for whatever is best for our American friends.

Those who have been following the political campaigns to elect a new American president are aware that in recent months the exchanges between candidates sank quite low indeed, with insults and comments from some that left voters wondering whether a new civil war was smouldering.

Just as things appeared to be reaching rock-bottom in the nasty world of politics, something of historic significance occurred in having a woman in the person of Hillary Clinton, a former Secretary of State, emerge as the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party. Irrespective of whatever views one may have of her abilities to hold that office, a page in history had been turned in the world of American politics. For the very first time, a woman could lead that nation since its birth.

Of course, the Republican nominee Donald Trump, who is trying to ride a wave of accusations over remarks he made about a judge, which were deemed racist, even by members of his party, continues his push for the White House.

Meanwhile, top GOP officials are on a collision course over whether the party can overcome such negative comments in trying to unify its resources.

What has some baffled is how top GOP officials condemn Trump's alleged racist remarks, but yet are willing to support him at the polls.

That will cause some concern for minorities throughout the nation who wonder where the GOP really stands when it comes to doing the right thing. Again, the voters will have the final say.

It will not be long before Bermuda will once again be thinking of a general election. We can only hope that even with obvious differences in the political arena on a number of pressing issues, our politicians will keep the banner of decency and respect flying higher than damaging negative comments.

As difficult as it may be, opposing political groups in a democratic setting should be willing to work closer together when it comes to finding ways to serve the people.

Meanwhile, the spotlight is on America, and the political battle for the White House is far from over.

Divisive candidate: Donald Trump's comments about a judge have been deemed racist (Photograph by Cliff Owen/AP)

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Published June 11, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 11, 2016 at 12:11 am)

Turning a page in American history

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