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We can achieve success but it requires discipline and focus

Sharing time with some Native American friends in Canada tuned me into some of my own latent sentiments, which seem cyclic. It may be hard to imagine what some Native Americans can experience, particularly since the rhetoric that exploded on the American continent during the last election.

It's not just the Trump phenomenon, but the whole question of what America is and to whom there is the right to belong. The recent comments of the 21st-century president, Donald Trump, comment extolling near veneration for the strength of the 19th-century American president, Andrew Jackson, who murdered thousands of Native Americans and owned more than 120 slaves, shows the contempt for the history of inclusion and dignity.

Could one imagine how an old Native American chief felt watching the destiny of his people vanish, having once dominated the lands? No one can deny the manifestation of progress or success, particularly those who were excluded from it and were left to cope with broken dreams. It leaves a hole so deep and too often filled with bitterness and resentment.

Whether we talk of the Steve Bannon world of alt-right nationalism or the liberal philosophy of diversity, both do little for the sentiments of worlds that are buried under the heap and rubble of crushing and exploitative progress.

Similarly, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, I saw a Bermuda society that was fast approaching a tipping point, where history indicated a change in its socioeconomic dynamics.

Naturally, having an abundance of youthful energy as a young adult, I tactfully sort the remedy to stem the tide of cultural and economic obliteration. Needless to say, my efforts failed and a generation later, proverbially it is as though water now covers what was once farmlands. The new proverbial lakes appear now as the normal landscape and it's hard to imagine or convince the new generation about the former daisy fields and farming trade that once existed.

It is easier to speak metaphorically and to create an artistic impression about what causes the pain in the hearts of the generations of people who now are on their way out of the active role of life. Bermuda is now truly another world and the trend of its future firmly moulded.

Why else is there such fanfare over Gene Steede performing at the America's Cup opening ceremony? We need to ponder over why something that should be quite normal has now become such a novelty. Has the status of a once local entertainer become the equivalent nostalgia of the Gombey or native dance?

Without armaments, when peace is the operative, economic power is the fashioner of empires, let alone little islands such as Bermuda. The saying “He who pays the drummer gets to call the tunes” is the mantra that has defined our modern reality.

Politics supposedly was to be the vehicle to put shape to our country, but given party performance, we have seen a triple failure. Sadly, it has helped only those nearest to its power and those who control it. Rarely, except in mass upheaval, is the outcome proven as a direct correlation of the efforts of the people. Political platitudes and promises remain no more than words that die once they have left the tongue.

Bermuda is a small place where things cannot be easily hidden, providing an excellent environment for test cases. If a policy works, we will all see it and if it fails, it so clearly shows.

We look at our prisons and they tell a story. Every time a new business opens, it tells a story and at some point like a drawing on a canvas, all the stories paint a picture, which is too obvious for anyone to fail to comprehend.

Truth is, what we see reflects on everyone; for our leaders it is like tagging a bright yellow placard on a donkey's rump — a banner too big to hide.

The most appropriate attitude is to be positive and resolved to do better. The Japanese, after their defeat in the Second World War, are an excellent example of that quiet determination.

We can achieve success, but the road is long and requires discipline and focus on some fundamental levels, none the least of which are education and family. It is great to think of country and even the world, but the mantra for our age must be a call to take care of yourself and family, and then extend towards the neighbourhood.

Praise from Trump: President Andrew Jackson, who murdered thousands of Native Americans and owned more than 120 slaves

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Published May 15, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 15, 2017 at 8:12 am)

We can achieve success but it requires discipline and focus

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