Forty-two Years Later – What Does that Mean?
Forty-two Years Later – What Does that Mean?
As the Bahamas prepares to celebrate its 42nd Anniversary of Independence, it comes at a most unsettling time in the country given the unabated crime dilemma, unemployment, declaration of bankruptcy of a major investment affecting the employment of thousands. Additionally, the news of the recent United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of same sex marriages reverberate in this nation. Given the aforementioned, how does one celebrate this 42nd independence? In fact, what should independence signify? In light of the questions a few observations are proffered.
Independence Calls for a Backward Look
Each year the country is accorded the opportunity to reflect on its past and those factors and happenings that led to the birth of an independent Bahamas back in 1973. Hopefully, this year a deliberate and an intentional look would recapture some of the core valuse that helped to guide the framers of the nation’s constitution. In fact, some 42 years ago the late Carlton Francis noted, “We are a small nation that can be easily permeated by any pernicious influence.” Furthermore he said, “I am saying that [while] we are aspiring to the disciplines of hard work and industry, we are not yet off the ground.” Though speaking to the casino gambling, the essence of his words is most fitting calling for an evaluation of where the country is today in values and morals. And, of course, that means us, the people, as the country is not a country without people. Are we still courteous and friendly? Do we take pride in our surroundings such as our cemeteries, parks, public centers, as well as public buildings? A current look at the situation would seem to infer that independence means freedom to do as one pleases. That cannot be right!
Independence Is not Adverse to Responsibility and Accountability
A nation of 42 years suggests more than growth but, hopefully, maturity marked by responsibility and accountability. There is too much “finger pointing” and blaming especially in government- successive governments. When will the youth of this nation hear leaders admit to wrong doing or missteps? When will they see responsible politics –putting aside party colours and party line for the sake of country? The time of blaming must cease, for maturity teaches accountability and nobility. Equally important is the need for respect for all persons, religious groupings and voted actions. Disregard for law, authority and established mores threatens the stability of a nation, and certainly ours is not excluded. Pastors, teachers, legislators, parents, all must be answerable to authority. Conditions in the country will only get worse if the people and leaders refuse to look at the person in the mirror and address what needs to be corrected.
Independence Calls for a Look at the True Framer
While it is true that the Bahamas is built on Christian values, we must not use that to discriminate against Muslims or others who may not subscribe to Christianity. The true nature of Christianity is to demonstrate love for mankind as Christ did. Nevertheless, it is hoped that one’s Christianity will manifest itself in more responsible actions and behavior. The level of committing millions of precious dollars to chance and luck daily makes one wonder where is God in the picture? The drawing of large crowds to a carnival, and staying up all night and day to frolic and party, and the apparent endorsement by a religious leader make one wonder about our claim of Christian values. And now the ruling in the United States regarding same sex marriage confronts us. What influence will the Christian underpinnings have upon the nation? Will our nation yield to the bigger nation? Or will there be a goodly number of persons who will cast a Christlike influence upon the land that legislators will not feel so comfortable in encouraging that which is contrary to God’s plan? On the other hand, Christians must be responsible even in that which is good and acceptable to God. Otherwise, people will lose respect for the church. We must not preach against some sins and condone others.
What Do We Do Now?
For starts, let’s engender a sense of community and concern. Development and so called modernization seem to be distancing and disconnecting us in some useful ways. Marble playing and ball playing led to action and movements, but ipads, cell phones and computers could confine us to a spot, albeit contacting one another but not moving around. Technology is wonderful with its inventions, but without deliberate actions, our gadgets can interfere with quality time with one another. Look at a couple at a dinner; look at persons at an airport; look at parents and children. What do you see? In many instances, some device is sharing that space and time. Mind you, the devices are also serving to conect grandpa with grandson though miles apart. The point is --don't let them replace the touch, the look in the eyes as we converse. Beware of the disruption when listening to the word of God. We say we must answer a call or respond to an email. Yes, there will be those necessary times, but don't let them become the norm.
Happy Independence Bahamas! May God bless the Bahamas!