A question of leadership
I have written about our leaders in the past and on one such occasion I elevated a comparison between three prominent leaders — Sir Henry “Jack” Tucker, Sir John Swan and Ewart Brown — putting all of them in a realm at the top as far as being the most discerning and striking leaders. I made no real comparative assessment, but based my thoughts on all three being resolutely determinist.
Now, the race to the bottom as the worst leader is naturally of interest also — and would have a few contenders.
Depending on how we look, with a critical eye, the top can also be at the bottom. The question or criterion for being worst could range from least effective to most dictatorial, or even the most detrimental to the Bermuda society. Unless, of course, we have a category for a leader that satisfies all the negative traits.
I think Donald Trump has set the modern-day standard for what most civil-minded persons in the world would agree as bad. Of course, that's in the context of progressive jurisdictions. There is another league for a long list of dictators in rogue nations.
How do we make judgment?
I remember stories of an old leader who more than 1,000 years ago told his governors to be careful how they treated people because those people will judge them based on how they were treated before by previous leaders.
That being the case, can I ask who or what leaders were you most comfortable in expressing opinion or even criticism? What leader gave you the sense of being in safe hands? Under whose leadership you felt the country was going somewhere? Or the reverse, for example, under whose leadership you feel less inclined to offer criticism because you know there would be consequences or even victimisation? Which leaders held their ministers like trained animals in a zoo? Or which leaders gave greater latitude to their ministers and staff?
These are questions for which the answers can be felt and seen; these are not matters just for statistical analysis. These thoughts today are very relevant given what we see in America. Relevant because when we choose leaders, what we get is either good or is bad. Putting it bluntly, they are either open, gregarious and democratic, or insular, secretive and authoritarian. Particularly, more importantly here in "good old Bermuda", because we don't choose our sovereign leaders, we are subject.
I listened to Ivanka Trump stand on a stage and proudly proclaim “this is a Trump Republican Party”. She did not say, this is the party to bring the shining light upon the Hill, or the party with truth and democratic ideals, but "it's a Trump party". Any party full of loyalists such as Ivanka who defend open and obvious wrong would corrupt governments and people anywhere.
This type of dialogue sits easy with those who support Trumpian values and goals. It doesn't go well for those who don't. The Democrats at the moment are experiencing the tide of favour with moral authority, while the Republicans need to reclaim a true purpose — and It will be a battle for them to do so.
Bermuda also needs a roll call, an audit similar to an inquisition, not just in Parliament but also in the homes, neighbourhoods and streets, to assess who among us want an open, participatory country and those who don't.
The question for us today is who wants to be ruled from a throne or who wants to be led from an office of their design?
It's our choice.