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Gone are the days of idealism

The world continues to learn the truth about the principle of not just being a democracy, but the effort it takes to maintain one. Woven into that idea is the notion of a republic where the people are the authority — the fine line between order and disorder held together not by laws and a constitution but by observance to that law and constitutionality.

People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the Chamber at the US Capitol last Wednesday (Photograph by Andrew Harnik/AP)

Unfortunately, for us in our little world, the question asked of Benjamin Franklin of whether the United States of America was a republic or a monarchy need not be asked of our Bermudian leaders because we are a de facto monarchy.

Well, not really. They call it a constitutional monarchy, which in and of itself is a self-styled rulership where Parliament is supposed to be the authority but in practice a party caucus and its leader are the reigning local monarch.

So what happens in America is TV with entertainment value. I don't agree with the rowdy behaviour of those radicals who invaded the Capitol Building, and I don't agree with Donald Trump, but that's what freedom looks like.

If one agrees with the notion of freedom, then we must embrace differences and at times radical differences. The great achievement, should there be such, is the ability to come together in mutuality in spite of our differences and work a way through them.

When we have that and abide by the rules of tolerance to work through issues, then you have a republic indeed. Otherwise, there is either anarchy or a dictatorship with tyranny.

Given you can be only one or the other, and there is no purgatory. We all know we are not under a freedom; we can choose whatever other word we wish to describe our status because the quietness we exhibit is not politeness or a high level of civility. It’s fear.

When I was young, all I could think of as a political idea was freedom and equality — even though there were several ideologies present, including nationalism, socialism and even communism. In some measure, the ultimate thought was to make a better world for everyone to live in harmony.

I suppose the 1960s on to the 1980s were days of idealism. What happened? Why after so many educational opportunities do we have a generation not just that is lacking ideals, but is totally oblivious to them.

Where are we going? What type of world do we envision as a society? Does anyone know? Or are we drifting like a ship at sea without a rudder or a compass? Is there a sense anywhere among us that we are heading in a direction? Or is the sense that it’s somehow a game for clicks and survival in a tribal environment? If you’re in, then you’re in; and if you’re out, there is no sense of national survival.

America was heading back to that dark world; now the world watches to see what elements either save her or take her to a fiery abode.

Hopefully, we can take heed and move the dial forward. We won’t drift there, but we must have a vision along with an idea of how it works for everyone.

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Published January 12, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated January 11, 2021 at 6:10 pm)

Gone are the days of idealism

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