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The hurricane spirit can help to unite us

Bermuda like many countries large and small, is confronted with challenges in trying to cope with constantly changing patterns of modern-day lifestyles, and some values that were pillars in our society appear to be under threat. Despite much progress over the years in eradicating social injustice based on skin colour, trying to solve problems with closer co-operation remains an obstacle.

The invisible thread that linked most Bermudian communities back then was common family values such as discipline and respect, and in some instances there were good relationships between black and white families that flourished, irrespective of institutional racism, which was the order of the day.

It was a sad period, but thankfully the march of good people on both sides, helped to tear down barriers, and move Bermuda to a brighter day. Of course the struggle to accomplish that left scars that are yet to fully heal.

However, there is no turning back, and Bermuda must continue to build on progress that has brought us this far, and a vital ingredient for growth, will be just how well we as a people can see beyond our differences, and work closer together in tackling problems that require co-operation at a higher level. In doing so, we must be careful not to abandon values that keep dignity and respect alive, in the process of moving Bermuda forward.

Too often in the daily rush, rush, pace of modern-day living, the torch of solid, sound, good values has been dropped, without some runners who make up our communities, realising that a new generation of runners will only be able to continue the quest to make Bermuda better, if they are armed with proper values that have proven solid in bringing families and communities together, even during difficult times.

We are still in the hurricane season, and hopefully Mother Nature will be kind to us. However, we all know Mother Nature gives no favours. On the other hand, whenever the island falls prey to one of those ocean giants and its swirling power, there is a ‘we are all in this together’ feeling as people from all walks of life push differences aside, in being prepared to help one another should the need arise.

If only we were able to harness that spirit of unity, in dealing with controversial issues that often spark anger and divisiveness not only in the political arena, but also throughout our communities.

During the crisis a powerful storm can bring, seldom do people question who is helping whom, because someone belongs to this or that group. What is most important is that anyone in distress should be helped without question.

We should not have to rely on a powerful storm to awake that type of unity on such a small island, with such a small population. Yet, that seems to always be the case. In any democracy there is the freedom to disagree, and that is healthy. It is when disagreements escalate to a point where objectives become fuzzy, leaving the people wondering whether the general interest of the people might not be a priority. Political posturing, which happens in most democracies, occasionally stifles a more unified approach to resolve many issues. It is not the disagreements that disturb many people, but the tone that often is laced with bitterness and anger, which tends to further divide those with opposing views. When that happens, respect for one another is usually a casualty.

We should reflect on attitudes that rise to the surface, whenever there is a crisis such as a major storm threat. Bermuda has economic challenges, and there is much work to be done to create more job activity to keep our infrastructure moving in the right direction. That will not happen overnight without a more co-operative spirit from politicians on both sides, and all sections of the business community.

The real test as we slowly approach another General Election, will be to conduct ourselves just as we would in the face of a huge hurricane. Remembering we are all in this together and co-operating with each other despite differences, makes us stronger.

Bermuda should be able to pull this off if we really want success.