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Trump phenomenon exposes our cracks

America now is at a point where it needs a reset. The departure of Donald Trump with his closing salvo stating "the movement has just begun" sets the job for the new president as one of those epochal moments in the national life of the United States.

Bermuda needs healing in much the same way as the United States, beginning with the inauguration yesterday of President Joe Biden (Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Like that great dig into the soul of the American experience that began the revolution in 1776 and that moment that saved it in 1863 under Abraham Lincoln, this moment for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is no less significant and challenging.

Judging by his inaugural speech, his words and demeanour were very appropriate, comforting and, for many around the world and in America, recaptured the vision and spirit of what the true mission of the USA should be.

You know that it has been said that when America coughs Bermuda sneezes, and it seems a parallel occasion when the former Opposition Senate Leader, Marcus Jones, gets blasted for his unflinching support of the now former president.

There was already a question hanging over the head of our politics regarding whether the One Bermuda Alliance had any continued relevance. It's a fair guess that even among the OBA’s traditional support base, its viability is seen as questionable, if not absolutely of no continued relevance.

Now a Black man, and fairly articulate one, who was perhaps once a natural choice to lead the Senate, is a supporter of Trump, whom many White people call a racist bigot and whom a majority rallied to vote out because of his bigotry and incendiary behaviour.

Good, old, kind-hearted Cole Simons, as leader of the OBA, says his party allows its members freedom of thought. OK, that's good, but now that he has freely expressed his thoughts, can’t he see how out of place those thoughts of Mr Jones are as a member of the Opposition in Senate, representing a party trying to rebrand for its continued existence?

We all applaud the right of persons and even leaders to be honest and true to their convictions, and there should never be a case of condemning a person for how they think. The thing is, everyone equally has a right to disagree — and, with political leadership, how one thinks leads to the kind of world that flows from their thoughts.

We saw the world that flowed from the thoughts of Donald Trump.

More important, what the Trump phenomenon has revealed is not just the crack that exists in America but the cracks existing in Bermuda at the same time. The Progressive Labour Party won a landslide not because there was so much love and demand for its leadership; sadly, it is what we see manifest within the OBA that was so undesirable and lacking as an alternative.

The problem is, just starting another like party doesn't solve the problem. Nor does the ritualistic, tired call for independents as though that's the only alternative — a point that I believe is actually promoted by the parties to maintain the support base.

You know: show them something very inferior or ineffective to help them appreciate the decadent system they have come to enjoy. Independent thinking, yes, but we don't need to get rid of political organisations in order to have independent thinkers. There are many adjustments we can make to allow the avenues of independent thought.

Let’s take aim at the persons who sit at home, those whose voices are truly muted and who come out only every four or more years to place a vote. They should be the new political territory, not a new party. These folks have been lied to for nearly 60 years. They were told by two parties, "stay home, enjoy your couch and TV; we'll take care of the business for you".

But, really, they did business for themselves.

You who sit home on your couch have only one value at the moment, and that is a vote once every four years to put others in power over you, not in power with you — not even for you.

You are not one of the 100 delegates, or one of the six or eight-member selection committee. In fact, the vast majority — some 97 per cent of you — are not even members. They will tell you that you have a choice and you can become members, knowing that you will not.

Let me quote an old cliché: "The mountain would not come to Moses, so Moses went to the mountain."

Gone are the days when the parties can say power to the people because you know after 60 years you will have no power unless you, the people, seize it. The next movement is yours, not the parties’. The people must take over the parties and make them organisations that serve the people. The thing is, we all know the truth; we just need to honour it.

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Published January 21, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 20, 2021 at 10:25 pm)

Trump phenomenon exposes our cracks

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