Moving on from the past is the way forward
Listening to the United States presidential election and the deep divide, you can't help but think that they are so dangerously close to civil war as a result of rampant hatred and the two-world realities shown dramatically by the media.
It takes no brilliance of the mind to gauge the intensity being displayed by both camps to control the narrative that will dominate the future of America. It's either the Trumpians or the Democrats, CNN or Fox News.
The US has real guns and real militias; it also has the ideology of the right to bear arms. Heated arguments such as what this presidential race has become will take tremendous restraint to prevent the loss of life after November 3.
Bermuda, too, although thankfully not as explosive, will face some unsettling moments after October 1. No matter what the outcome, the latest political split has only brought to the surface a deeper rift that will reverberate beyond Election Day.
It is difficult to draw the line or pinpoint the fault point as a fulcrum. It is not as simple as the youth wing, which would be a typical divide. It isn't either the old school of the union versus the political element of the party. It's that the energy of the party has transferred to the third generation who in the main are between 30 and 50, born after the intense labour struggles.
Hence, they are not unionist and have middle-class aspirations full of desire to better their situations and fortunes, but without a clear target and a cohesive voice. Therefore, challenges for direction are inevitable.
The style and format of the parties are not built for the kind of diversity the younger generation of today exhibits. The younger generation was raised on multiple choice almost from birth — unlike the older generations, who proverbially ate what they were given. The old political format more resembles a “junta” — understandably so, given it became a pressure group to bring about change, and thus was unidirectional and united we stand, divided we fall.
I can recall Walter Roberts, one of the first-generation MPs, saying to his PLP colleagues: “We have to become an organisation fit to govern the country and stop behaving like a pressure group.”
Truthfully, the beginnings of political parties with proper reflection was not properly thought out, particularly over how to facilitate a diverse, societal need, and how to sustain middle-class aspirations and labour in the same room.
That reality is with us now, as the old slogan “This is a workers' party” no longer satisfies the whole. The second generation of persons near or around the late 1960s and 1970s are for the most part living on the traditionalism they inherited.
However, they do not have a present message that guides to the future of inclusion; rather, some open shows of disdain on social media for persons from other parties joining their ranks. Fixed on an old paradigm rapidly disappearing, the only message they have is: “Stay together. Remember the struggle. Everyone else is a perpetual enemy.”
The old message of the being the victim of slavery does not bring emancipation. Being a victim under any circumstance has never solved a situation. Slavery needs to be seen as a blip on the calendar of a people that have been around for thousands of years, and not their conclusion.
The liberating message is of mastering today and building a better future, and requires another mindset of progressive thinking. There must arise the minds of free people associating in a world of freedom among others. The liberating voices of persons that are not trapped by past prejudices and scars but free to master the new world of opportunity. Freedom is in our cosmic reality and it is freedom that will cause a break-up of traditionalism that ties the country to a hampered past.
Conflict is inevitable because the old world must break up in order for Bermuda to grab hold of a brighter future. The first generation is all but gone, the second generation is on its way out and you will hear the moaning of the second generation who can see no other way.
We will see the disillusionment manifested in the third generation, but like the old psalm says, “weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning”.