Victims of our own changed world
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has called an election that will happen in a couple of weeks, oddly in the middle of a fourth wave in the pandemic. Covid-19 is having an effect on the lives of people worldwide and contributing to their sense of political dissatisfaction.
In this environment, the Conservatives, given the challenges to the economy, have closed in on the Liberals in popularity — even encouraging tacit support from the anti-vaxxers, whom they will sheepishly step away from later.
This is parliamentary democracy, where the leaders call the elections whenever it is to their advantage — and there are strong sentiments suggesting that this call was made precisely for that reason — to preserve whatever hold the Liberal government under Trudeau remains. The race is predictably close with even the New Democratic Party gaining considerably; it would be no surprise if the next government is formed through alliance.
At the very least, Canada’s economy is ticking along and strong; the pandemic in some places is very serious, but not to the scale as seen in the United States. Provinces such as Nova Scotia, with one million residents, having only six thousand cases is comparatively good.
The electorate has at least four viable choices to lead the country, and budding new contenders who may force a minority government — another feature that is a good sign of a healthy democracy.
I’m not involved in Canadian politics, but it sure reminds me of what we lack in Bermuda. There is not the plurality of political bodies or established political interest groups to offer a meaningful challenge to our political equation. It is not because Bermudians do not have differences of ideology and opinion; it’s that those ideas and opinions have been for too long negated because of a tug-o-war over racial justice.
Our politics evolved to become a numbers game: too few Whites and the older Black support base for the United Bermuda Party simply died; there is no other cold truth, other than to explain the times and why the support was a given.
We are left in a political chasm where the only motion in town that fortells a bit about our future is a meeting between the Bermuda Industrial Union and the Progressive Labour Party. Usually in dark worlds such as ours, where there isn’t that lively and energetic exchange of thought and ideas, an atmosphere like that of a swamp prevails — like at the dead of night when all the cockroaches come out.
Some way and somehow, we must bring dialogue, reason and empathy alive to bring light into our world. No government has been or will be perfect, but we want them to be just and honest.
The works of Flavius Josephus, a Romano-Jewish historian of antiquity, was responsible for recording a great deal of the history in Rome and Jerusalem in the 1st century, and had a penchant to summarise all he witnessed of deeds of the rulers and judged their actions — whether they were as against piety or whether they were fair and just — and he chronicled events as unfolded from those deeds as by karma.
Politically, Bermuda is a victim of its own changed world. The politics we fought for decades were over a war that has long ended. There are no rivers or mountains to cross, no minefields or bodies to kill. Or our political leaders wearing army fatigues, and storing gunpowder for cannon balls. Well, the army was always well paid, but that was because they had to sacrifice and fight.
What are our well-paid political soldiers fighting for and with what sacrifice have they to suffer? I'm not sure if they know. There is no need for a battle over the throne when we have not first recognised what we have as a throne is broken and needs to be fixed.
An election does not necessarily fix the problem. We need a comprehensive look at ourselves where we are and determine where we want to be. We have a leader and leaders young enough to want to see a new beginning.
So, with a nod to the late Marvin Gaye, tell me what's going on?