Mark the Manner of Your Bearing Part II
(Article marking Bahamas 44th Anniversary of Independence)
Prior to the Bahamas national elections in May of this year, I wrote the first of a two-part article captioned “Mark the Manner of Your Bearing.” Today, I share with you the second part to that article, now that the elections are behind us.
Premised on the fact that citizens and residents can make a difference in strengthening democracy by holding leaders and themselves accountable, as opposed to feeling that they can do so only but once every five years, I seek to share the following points for consideration.
Holding Ourselves Accountable
Our deportment as citizens and residents of these wonderful islands is always under scrutiny. Gone are the days when we could say or do something and it would take the rest of the world a long time to hear or see. No longer is this the case with social media which can over inflate as well as misstate. Therefore, a call to high standard, national pride and a commitment to best practices must so mark a people seeking to build a commendable nation that the late Timothy Gibson, composer of the national anthem, envisaged.
The notion of excusing ourselves because of our small size in comparison to other nations is unacceptable. Notwithstanding our size, one only needs consider our location which has us perched between Cuba and one of the greatest nations on earth, The United States of America. In many ways our location, style of living and economy make us in some respect the envy of the region. However, the late Carlton Francis warned years ago, “We are a small nation that can be easily permeated by any pernicious influence.” Furthermore, he observed, “I am saying that where we are aspiring to the disciplines of hard work and industry we are not yet off the ground.” From 1973 to the present, we must ask ourselves: “Are we living up to or fulfilling what was anticipated by our forefathers?” A country is only as strong as its people and values. Likewise, it is my opinion that a government is only great to the extent that it is prepared to govern in accordance with such values and standards referenced above, and to the level people hold their leaders accountable.
Embrace the Best
The call to excel through love and unity denotes genuine care for one another as well as a commitment to work together. Of course, this is easier said than done given the make-up of our country which is comprised of whites and blacks, Bahamians, Haitians, Jamaicans, Chinese, and other nationals who now call the Bahamas home. How do we live together in love and unity harnessing the collective gifts, talents, and abilities that make for a great nation? While I am in no way advocating a violation of our Immigration laws, I am calling for a full acceptance of those who hold citizenship and legal status to reside here. On the other hand, I hope that the government can find a solution to address the many undocumented residents who were born in our country. It would seem disingenuous that when some of these children excel in academics and sports the nation is quick to claim them as its own. However, an approach to harnessing the collective talents and abilities of our people and residents will truly make us a great little nation on this earth aspiring to “best practices” in all areas. As already noted, our size need not cause us to think small. To the contrary, we must be proud in a positive sense believing in our ability, believing in one another, and ever seeking to improve. Our government must assure that room is created for Bahamians who desire to make the Bahamas great.
God Is Watching
Finally, I note that Timothy Gibson was a man of God given to godly principles, for he wrote, “'Til the road you've trod lead unto your God,” According to the fifth book of the Bible, Deuteronomy 4.7-9, a nation is great “who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for.” Additionally, it explains that a nation is great when it has “statutes and judgments so righteous.” Thirdly, a nation is great when it remembers God and passes on His teachings to successive generations as noted by Moses when he penned, “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.”
Based on these three principles in the passage, the Bahamas must take seriously the importance of having God present. A desire for some lewd practices, as manifested in aspects of Junkanoo Carnival, does not bode well for godlikeness. Also, a great nation is one that does not only possess laws and statues but is not afraid to execute them. When slackness is tolerated, it is embraced and eventually become a part of us. However, when a nation remembers God, it demonstrates a spirit of gratitude as opposed to entitlement; an appreciation for opportunities as opposed to handouts, and a true desire to be the best --ever grateful.
Happy Independence as we mark the manner of our bearing!