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Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Bahamas in the future: A look at politics.

I felt the need to continue on the trend I haphazardly started with last week with regard to The Bahamas and what the future may look like for the Church in our daily lives. I also prefaced that submission with the understanding that we can't look into the future in a linear fashion: In that, I mean to say is that we can't think about the future and say with any broad stroke that "this" is where The Bahamas would be in general or overall, but rather where we would be and what we would look like on several fronts.

As said, last week was about the role of the Church. Politics, in this vein, is no different in terms of evolution, even though how it impacts the general population and what it means for the majority of us matters significantly different than that of the Church.

What's really trending in Bahamian Politics? The short hand is that the major parties are fracturing. Not quite unexpected, because as the population grows, the larger organizations will find it challenging to serve all of the people under their tent.

This is not to say that the larger parties are unorganized and can't muster up enough coordination to serve all of the people under it's tent, but the fact of the matter is we're dealing with people. People and by extension organizations and the society at large, have hierarchies. Totem Poles. A pecking order. So, often times, gifts and hand-outs start from the top and filter down to the bottom.

As you can imagine, the people at the top got there because of their selfishness, aggression and to some extent greed. The higher up and more distant they become, the more likelihood of them becoming disengaged from the average citizen. It's easier for a camel to enter into the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

I'm not excusing the disengagement at all. I find it deplorable, particularly for a still, relatively, small and intimate country like The Bahamas. But, to some extent, the people in charge must look like the people in charge: If that means subjugating, creating distance, and subordinating the so called "lesser-folk", then so be it. If only by the sheer nature of the job. As they say, it's lonely at the top.

The Bahamas has a unique problem within that matrix: The baby-boomer leadership is deeply conservative with an ever increasingly liberal youth demographic (Generation Y and beyond), mixed in with a frustrated Generation X that feels stifled and cheated because of the baby-boomer generation's staying power and cling to power. For whatever reason. .

Seriously however, not only the age group differences pose a direct challenge, the baby-boomer generation has had a significant amount of staying power. Something that should be commended, but also be concerning because as they hold on to power, their ideas become stale, their way of thinking about doing business is outdated, in addition to their incestuously uncanny ability to select people of "like mind"; i.e., people within their own age grouping and also persons from younger generations who, even if only, feign interest in whatever programme that comes out of that baby-boomer think-tank.

Without a doubt there will be a conflict of ideas coming out of the age-group differences as we move forward. As we are seeing more and more intently now, the younger generations have too much information at their finger-tips to be given the same story of the same issues that have not worked. One only has to read Facebook for 30 minutes to find out how much they know, where did they know it from, how it was confirmed and who is being straight up and honest about it.

What we are currently seeing develop is an era of duplicity in politics. One in which is as seedy as much as it is unpredictable.

We have often times heard terms used, particularly within the last 10 to 15 years: "PLP's for (insert name of leader of the FNM), or "FMM's for (insert name of the leader of the PLP). In fact, the 2007 election was centred around such duplicitous, cloak and dagger gimmickry that one may liken to a Pink Panther movie, just with real life effects and consequences. The 2012 election was no different either, but less pronounced with more action post election by the then governing party.

The era of duplicity is also going to be very challenging, due to the fact that the chain that binds the generations has a rusted and shop-worn link: That is the flow of information that Generation Y (Millennials) has at their fingertips right now that the preceding Generation X did not have enough of to make their assessments. We can't overlook that, at all. And as equally important, the knowledge of the tools and templates to use in their assessments.

Along with the oncoming era of duplicity and one can also say a lack blind loyalty, we also have now a developed culture of distrust, chugging it's fuel from the years and years of obeisance under a "Dark" Bahamas. We have a Generation Y that has a greater chance and opportunity to review the ideas and issues form the past, juxtaposed with current affairs, and how it has shaped us to where we are today. All at the same time, the perceived source of much ire, the baby-boomer generation, is still in control if only psychologically, yet again adding to the frustration and sentiments of being cheated by Generation X while being simultaneously being greeted with disgusted sneers and sarcastic grunts from Generation Y.

Within the next 25 years, at least, as the baby-boomers are taken to their eternal glory at the very least, we will have a little challenge reconciling the following generations: Generation X will want to reclaim what they feel was stolen from them by the baby-boomer generation, and Generation Y will begin to say that you can't steal from me so easily and so openly as your predecessors did to you. This is going to create conflict. Even though there is a lot for all, the fact of the matter is we can't ever quantify feelings and sentiments: Being cheated and lied to on the one hand, and pervasive false need that borders on extreme avarice on the other.

All within the same time the political process will become more fractured, distrust will build and build in thee most acrimonious ways. It will take tremendous acts of courage to mend the fences and provide equal opportunity for all. Regardless of where you started from, or where you are now.

This is not to say all is shot to hell right now as we speak, but I think everyone with an ounce of intelligence can see quite clearly that the policies of 50 years ago have not worked in the last 15 years, at the very least; it's obvious that the proceeding generations' time is being eaten up by a generation, the baby-boomers, that have simply exhausted their usefulness (quite respectfully speaking); the cannibalization and lack of security for the future is based on old ideas that are not working and at best deleterious to the future development of The Bahamas, long after the baby boomers would have finally exited the stage; and the current carry-over of failed concepts of managing country-wide problems is not going over smoothly, and will become more problematic for anyone coming afterwards trying to implement the baby-boomer's methodology of doing things.
The era of distrust and duplicity is upon us. As with all countries, from large empires to small fiefdoms, there have always been successive years of "challenge periods". The Bahamas is right up next to our very own, made worse by the global financial collapse in, 2008 and prior to which was taken strong note of as a result of the September 11 Attacks and what many analyst claim precipitated the attacks which was, essentially, stinking thinking!

This is not to prophecy of things to be, but a warning of what may happen if we do not summon the courage, intelligence, decency and tact to handle this matter in a judicious manner. But first we must understand the problem. To which I humbly rest my submission on the matter on the table for perusal.
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