The greatest show on Earth
Christmas is usually the biggest festival of the year in Bermuda for religious, cultural and economic reasons. This year is different.
Our community is now overshadowed by one of the most difficult challenges in living memory — the impact of a global pandemic.
I've tried my hardest to understand the implications of all the news, research and rumours that are being circulated. The main factor that I can relate to is the looming uncertainty over every horizon.
I've finally had enough. It's clear to me that our response has been hijacked for political gain rather than genuine concern for our collective health and safety.
Politics is the gladiator sport that we love to hate. We are both privileged and cursed to live in a time of transparency when the endless manipulation, lies and deception of the powerful are visible for all to see.
In ordinary times, "before Corona", we accepted these idle pursuits because our own idyllic island culture led us to truly believe that "Bermuda is another world". Somehow it was assumed we could always be immune to the typical vices that plague the mundane world beyond our reef line.
But the continuing theatre of "Corona panic" that is now being propagated by our leaders is truly intolerable. It's not a sign of “strength” to simply read from the emergency measures script that we have been given. We cannot afford to be pushed into compliance with statistical projections that are not based on hard facts and evidence.
To imagine that we would suffer a 2020 death rate of between 350 and 700 persons from Covid-19 before Cup Match has taken our political class into a panic mode that is creating grave consequences for our happenstance way of life. This single miscalculation — whether honest or not — persuaded us all to collectively surrender absolute control over the economy, our human rights and our healthcare freedoms to a misguided leadership that is even more questionable now than they were at the start of 2020.
It's clear in hindsight why politicians are so easily seduced by the influence of predictive warfare. Everything about our democracy is based on freedom of choice. But as the renowned criminologist Sherlock Holmes would say, we do not have the freedom to falsely shout fire in a crowded theatre and cause a panic.
It is not so obvious how long we can withstand the resulting abnormalities of masks, mental fatigue, chemical experimentation and house arrest. It is definitely time to rethink our approach and our priorities.
Christmas is a reminder that miracles still matter. A simple parable can have a heavenly meaning that defies all powers on Earth. A prayer can heal a wounded heart.
It's especially time for me to speak up as a person who walks by faith, not by sight. With what I have personally witnessed locally — on matters of healthcare, human rights and public safety alone — Bermuda itself is going to need a miracle to pull through this toxic political downturn.
I'm starting with a step-by-step pathway to unified emergency leadership at the grassroots level based on direct diplomacy.
I'm not talking about politics as usual. This is fundamental. I consider myself a member of the "silent majority" that stays out of party politics.
I'm not blind to the extra-parliamentary consequences of our constitutional detachment. Too often, our best and brightest are removed from public citizenship because the partisan virus sucks the life out of our community spirit.
We are all paying a huge price for the role that we play in the democratic mythology of the “strong leader”. It’s always tempting to believe that politicians can bring us out of our moral confusion. The pandemic has revealed that, in fact, we need the perennial wisdom of science, medicine, engineering, the arts and law to rise above our dire circumstances.
Our most talented people should not be allowed to be missing in action through partisan intimidation. So, given this dilemma, I’m first calling for a Christmas truce that brings the electorate together beyond the "Herod mentality" of a Cabinet that is obviously preoccupied with personal vendettas.
This is a season of forgiveness and a natural opportunity for us all to let proverbial "bygones be bygones" — even in politics.
Next, I'm calling for a renewal of our collective faith in each other, not simply as a matter of religion, but in the spirit of common sense. I truly believe there is power in prayer: what the mind can conceive, it can achieve.
As a people, we like to think that we work together best in a crisis. Therefore, I got the ball rolling by inviting everyone to join the “Silent Walk With a Purpose” and agree to “Just Stop the Bully”.
The Silent Walk simply encouraged us to take a relaxing, meditative walk during the “Great Star” spectacle of the Great Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn at sunset on December 20 and 21.
This was and is a beautiful opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of the Christmas story, especially the journey of the Three Wise Men to the manger in Bethlehem.
For many people around the world, this once-in-a-millennium event is a true Christmas miracle, reminding us that wise people follow the stars to the kingdom of heaven. Our moral compass, like the northern star itself, is most critical in the midst of stormy seas.
I especially challenge our elected and appointed officials to use the privacy of the Silent Walk to reflect on their oaths of public office and reconsider their obligations to the people of Bermuda.
This is not the time for secrecy and deception. Neither should you presume that you are the only ones in charge of "the show".
It's time to seek forgiveness, accept new beginnings and truly serve your fellow man regardless of gender, race, creed, class or ideology.
• Mary Charlene Butterfield is a self-employed executive administrator and organiser of the 20x20 Silent Walk With a Purpose