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Freedom of speech

Pardon me, and rarely would I take this approach, but when an ideologue and a person who is thought to be at the cutting edge of political reform declares a political position that is pre-1770, what hope could be had for the bunch on the Hill? It would seem that any dream of political progress is far off.

Donald Trump, despite his unpopularity, is entitled to his opinion in a democracy, says Khalid Wasi (File photograph by Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

So our esteemed John Barritt in a recent column believes the saga on display in the United States is example enough for us in Bermuda to feel fortunate to be under Westminster-style governance. Well, China and Russia are also telling their citizens the same thing.

As bad as it looks, that which we are witnessing in the US is actually democracy and freedom at its highest.

Do I mean the violence? No, emphatically not. But that right of freedom of speech and the right to express who and what you truly want or feel? Absolutely, yes.

Donald Trump, whom I disagree with — not entirely but in many cases — has the right to freely express and pull a crowd if able, or a mass as he has done, because of freedom. As unbridled, untraditional and nonconformist as he is, without a bone of loyalty to anyone, he is an example of what is everyone's inalienable right. He, however, took that right and turned the Republican Party inside out and was prepared to turn America inside out because he had the right to do so. That’s the kind of world I want to live in.

Mr Barritt, as do too many others, particularly our political class, seemingly prefer a system that creates loyal poppets like trained elephants and animals in a zoo, trained to respond to the crack of a whip rewarded by a biscuit — some would say paycheque.

Give up your freedom, be loyal to the system, stay in line and wait, your turn is coming if you keep quiet and follow the boss. You see what happened to those who spoke out, by the way, including Jesus. Why would anyone follow that example? All the martyrs are dead, I was once told.

All this talk about “give me freedom, give me liberty or give me death”; man, just give me a paycheque and a roof over my head. Is that where we are?

Freedom is attained because you dare to live free and are willing to fight to defend it. Monarchy and all its appendages and adherents is a lazy adaptation to abandon personal responsibility in the role of governance. Our abandonment creates and facilitates oligarchy and oligarchs who thrive off the abandonment of the populace.

Complaints are useless when the populace takes no personal responsibility. For sure, if one does not stand up for themselves, they have no case if someone walks all over them. Even Marcus Garvey said "if you don't stand up, don't blame him if he stands on them".

Westminster is what you have short of an absolute monarchy, if you can’t or don't adopt a fully participatory system. The biggest lack on display at the moment in the US example is the principle of patience, deliberation and mutuality, which is essential to a functioning democracy.

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Published January 20, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 20, 2021 at 11:06 am)

Freedom of speech

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