Hard lesson for Government and the Opposition party
Bermuda would be in denial, if we fail to accept that because of decades of entrenched racial bias, which emanated from our history of institutionalised segregation after centuries of slavery, and based on skin colour, that every election has that stigma, even in the midst of all of the talk that Bermuda needs to move forward.
After years of major incidents, some that shook Bermuda to its core, few would deny there has been progress in trying to have people look beyond the hostile attitudes and below the surface desires for revenge that have the effect of an iceberg — with the real danger beneath what appears to be calm waters.
The point is that it is high time that both the Progressive Labour Party government, and the Opposition, the One Bermuda Alliance, fully comprehend that the Bermudian people, now a more diverse society, are watching very closely how those in authority promote good, sound policies that will benefit all, instead of falling into the trap of simply keeping their base supporters fired up, with what is often political rhetoric.
Most Bermudians are not blind to this tactic, which is not exclusive to any particular political group.
It has been a part of our political scene ever since the first vote was cast in a General Election.
There is still a long road ahead, in stamping out prejudice, because emotions from our dark social past, on both sides, remains a threat beneath the surface, and our island ship must alter course, towards waters of better understanding and co-operation, plus have a willingness to work closer together, if further progress is to be achieved. Of course all of that is easier said than done, because most Bermudians are aware that the political arena, can often be too obsessed with image protection, with close supporters constantly in mind. There is nothing totally wrong with that, except once in power, everyone, supporter or not, is important.
Governments come and go, but the people are always there. No government would want a legacy that they only looked out for their supporters, instead of embracing the responsibility of making certain that every citizen felt included in whatever policies were implemented.
One of the hardest lessons for any government in a democratic setting, is that they must fully understand that they will be judged not by their words, no matter how colourful, but by their actions. This holds true for leaders.
That can be a very tough challenge, especially when every word uttered has to be carefully constructed to hopefully impress all, without disturbing base supporters who will be needed in another election.
That, of course, is a part of democracy.
Most Bermudians simply want what is best for Bermuda, and would prefer for our Parliamentarians on both sides of the political divide, to wake up to the reality, that no political party can solve all of the island’s problems alone.
The United States is currently experiencing a political situation many veteran observers say that nation has never seen before, with a leader who baffles not only many of its citizens, but much of the international community, over operating with a style that reeks of dictatorial tactics. They will have to deal with that perhaps through the ballot box.
Bermuda has many positives to further build on; we could be an example to other parts of world and demonstrate that differences should never be seen as an obstacle, in bringing people together in order to produce a society where people know that their concerns are being dealt with by leaders who hold truth, decency and doing what is right dear and want to have a peaceful, safe and economically productive environment.
What matters with most people, is not how many bitter exchanges occur in Parliament between rival politicians over various issues, but whether or not all representatives conduct their duties in a manner that has dignity and respect for the people they are elected to serve.