Al Seymour

The distraction of divisiveness

  • Dividing opinion: President Donald Trump (Photograph by Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Political leaders around in the world, especially in jurisdictions operating under democratic principles, too often are heavily involved with racial, ethnic, religious or political divisiveness, on a scale that overshadows efforts to do what is best for the people.

Sadly, in the political arena, much of the world is in the grip of divisiveness, and even in progressive countries where there are no running battles through the streets with people dying, there is an undercurrent of divisiveness, usually fed by those who refuse to accept a diverse world where justice is based on truth, decency and freedom, with the people having the constitutional right to question those in authority on any matter of concern.

Tragically, there are regions where there is no justice in bitter violent power struggles that cause people to risk their lives in dangerous seas in the search for a life without bombs and bullets, with little hope for tomorrow.

Thousands have perished in a world that at times prefers to look the other way. That old syndrome: If its not happening in my backyard. Meanwhile, men, women and children are being slaughtered daily on this planet.

Learning to live together in peace could be years away without respect for differences.

As long as political divisiveness is used as a tool by certain leaders of today to cling to power, progress in building strong, healthy communities will be slow and at times painful.

It would seem history books that teach errors from the past no longer exist. Learning from past mistakes is the only way to approach the future understanding that differences of opinion are a part of true democracy, and leaders will be successful only when they lead by example with respect to that principle.

Bermuda, with a relatively small and diverse population, should be a shining example to others while political divisiveness continues to be a part of our society, there are growing signs that most Bermudians want a more bipartisan approach in dealing with highly sensitive issues.

Bermudians are fully aware that neither the Progressive Labour Party government, or the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance can singularly solve the complex problems that confront Bermuda in this age where international competitiveness has impacted just about every corner of the Earth.

There are strong views between the two political camps as to whether we are moving in the right direction in tackling problems such as healthcare costs, the underworld of illegal drugs, the education system, and whether the weakened family structure could have a link to fading values such as respect and decency.

These problems will not be solved by verbal political clashes usually aimed at keeping the support base happy. Like it or not, there must be better bipartisan participation, with the people as the priority; that is, all the people.

Diversity in the world today cannot be reversed, and large and small countries in different parts of the world are challenged with the flow of immigrants. Bermuda should be proud to be home for many people of different ethnic backgrounds who have over the years contributed much to our growth. Our political leaders must do more to keep divisiveness from being a distraction that can only hinder efforts to solve problems that need the best of bipartisan skills to keep Bermuda moving forward.

We know there will always be sharp confrontations at times in the political arena over certain issues. That is understandable during heated debate. However, it is more than essential that community leaders understand that young people are watching, and those serving the people must do so by example in what they do and say.

Divisiveness will not vanish overnight, but each step in the right direction by our leaders will make our Bermuda stronger. Bermudians will support that.