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We need to promote and defend our ideals

Universal beliefs: the 13 colonies’ Declaration of Independence asserts that all people are created equal and have unalienable rights remains the foundation of a humane and democratic society, but those ideals must be defended

Life and human civilisation in its social and conscious evolution show patterns of behaviour that are predictable and near uniform in outcomes. One of the best-documented examples of this is religion. Whether it is Christianity, Buddhism, Islam or Judaism, and even if one stretches back into antiquity and looks at Socrates or the philosophers, what happens to the original spark and its subsequent versions follow the same historic route.

Let me start from the outset and say from reliable observation, if we can use the term "light" as the initial spark that started all the movements, then that light in its original form only survives the first two generations and invariably, by the third it has outwardly vanished or has been turned into dogma.

It's for good reason when Benjamin Franklin was asked after the American Constitutional Convention, what kind of government will we have? He replied: "A Republic, if we can keep it.“

No doubt for many beleaguered people around the globe, whether they are the victims of the Atlantic slave trade, the holocaust, the native Americans, many of the aboriginal and indigenous people of the earth, or the subset of all societies who have been treated as serfs, the central quests are freedom, respect and the ability to carve out a meaningful existence.

That is why the assertion in the American Declaration of Independence, "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights“, is an idea that goes far beyond nationhood and is a universal imperative. The extent to which our national pursuits mirror that universal principle equates with the extent to which we intend to be a humane society.

The rumblings and murmurs for full and equal human dignity have been heard in Bermuda for centuries, but only began to reach full expression in the mid-20th Century. Let me classify those calls as our primitive beginnings. But even those primitive cries for freedom, justice and equality are missing among the current generation of leaders who have strayed far from their founder’s ideals and now firmly into dogma.

What was once a real need for labour settlements and a movement has morphed into historical ramblings and slogans like “united we stand and divided we fall" that lose all meaning when you ask ”to stand“ for what? Even when there is an attempt to answer, the reason given is limiting and unworthy of the title of a movement. Even sayings like ”standing on the shoulders of our forebears“ fall short when the progressive torch that enlightens forward thinking, as they did, has gone out.

That movement, like the historical pattern of all movements, has died or at best is hidden and only truly known to a few. It is certainly not prevalent among current leaders and it's time to come to grips with that reality; all we have now is a well-paid hierarchy and a labour dogma in exchange for what once was a living movement. Like the old Hymn, “I'm standing on the promises of God”, in proper context it is reduced to “I’m sitting on the premises of God”.

Today, after what experience has taught us, we should have arrived at a point of realisation that it does not matter what the colour of leadership is, right is clearly distinct from wrong. Nor does it matter what hemisphere the country is in, our humanity is one, and culture does not change the innate quality of one's humanity. If we are to judge character, then the best of us are not black or white or Asian or Arab, but those who are observant of their duty towards others.

There is something special about being a human and it resides inside all of us, irrespective of race, creed, or ethnicity. That spark that is within us predates time, predates creation, and is the indispensable bond that unites us, even in our ignorance of the fact.

So following the words said of one apostle, "upon this rock, I will build my church", in a similar fashion we need to create the kind of idealism in governance that is the archetypal example to all countries that strive to be humanist. We can look at the best examples of those attempts from around the world, and do better. No pursuit is more worthwhile.

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Published December 23, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated December 23, 2022 at 7:55 am)

We need to promote and defend our ideals

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