Confrontational fever will hurt us

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Political confrontation fever that shows no sign of abating in the face of an approaching General Election could hurt us economically and socially if the temperature of anger and emotional reactions are allowed to run amok.

Most Bermudians in all walks of life are aware that disagreements usually culminate in verbal clashes that can leave deep wounds not easily healed. This can occur in the family circle, at work or in the political arena.

It is not likely that any Bermudian family would want to have their disputes aired in public, especially in a small population where gossip travels faster than any internet system. In other words, most families would prefer to resolve problems without neighbours having a clue that all was not well.

While that is usually the desired objective, it is common knowledge in many instances when a mere whimper of discord leads “I don’t know whether it is true or not, but have you heard about ...” Most of us have experienced that.

However, in democracies worldwide, it is almost common for some politicians to bypass truth for whatever line they can muster to cling to support from their followers. This posture tends to leave many people having little confidence in politicians, which is somewhat unfair for those who do strive to serve, placing good principles above party allegiance or popularity status.

In Bermuda’s evolving history, we have seen civil order shattered by tempers flaring over various issues, but most concerning is when the general public can detect egos from some in leadership positions, displaying an attitude of recklessness in stating their case. In other words, when negative rhetoric, irrespective of its origin, threatens island stability, it holds the potential to encourage those with disruptive instincts to act. That could hurt us.

Elections have a way of unearthing deeply held emotions from the past, especially when politicians become embroiled in heated verbal exchanges, with no regard for what effect it may have on those hoping for intelligent debate and respectful tones from all aspiring to serve our island community.

No issue, no matter how controversial, is worth taking the island down. That would show utter contempt not only for the electorate, but also for the many young people striving to make a contribution to their homeland Bermuda.

All our leaders must be held accountable in doing their best to keep a respectable attitude throughout what is expected to be a testing time for all of the country. There are many senior citizens watching with concern about behaviour by some in positions of leadership, who need to be reminded of the sacrifices made to keep Bermuda growing. It would be foolhardy to toss progress into the ocean because we lack the ability to reason together.

The America’s Cup taking place this year in Bermuda waters is nothing short of a milestone in our glorious marine history, which is filled with the island’s link with sailing as a part of normal life here. We will be in the world spotlight and we certainly want to be seen at our best.

We should be able to show large and small countries that we can tackle problems — and we do have them — with respect for values that mean the difference between bitter confrontation and a willingness to work things out together.

We must be realistic in knowing that bridging that gap will not be easy. It will be up to the people, who place Bermuda above party politics, to constantly let our leaders know that the success of Bermuda for all must be our unshakeable destiny.

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Published Jan 28, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 28, 2017 at 1:10 am)

Confrontational fever will hurt us

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