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Sunday, June 21, 2015

How often do you say you love your country?

Times are dark. The saying goes: "Tings red!". But, while things are challenging, does it necessarily mean that everything must be complained about and one must be upset every living day of one's life? Certainly not. So, how does one shake off that miasmal thinking of ubiquitous melancholy and pervasive angst against any and all things? One word: Love.

Now, before you call me a peacenik-ing do-gooding, lovey-dovey pacifist beyond all sense and sensibilities, let me say quite clearly: There is not all things in The Bahamas I love. In fact, some things that happen in my country I abhor with a disdain so great that if my thoughts can burn holes through those partaking in the so-called debauchery and wickedness, I would do so and take the charge from the judge. Plead guilty if the judge allows the amount of time I need and require to read my version of a country manifesto for righting these disgusting wrongs!

However, it's not my world. I don't have super powers. I can't wave a magic wand and make things appear great when they may be worse than bad. I was told that I can if I really tried hard enough, but I think folks were fooling me into thinking that. Possibly! Let's just say my attempts have been fruitless up to this point, with a slim chance they may work in the future. Good? Good!

Now, let me state emphatically: I love my country! Can you say that with me? I love The Commonwealth of The Bahamas for which it stands. One people united in love and service.

Now, that wasn't so hard to do now was it? Especially out of the season of Independence celebrations, where outward displays of national affection would be considered normal, saying I love this country on a cool morning in January is just as easy as saying it on a boring day in mid-August.

I reject, wholeheartedly, this notion that in order to say you love this country, you have to show up and be front and centre at every independence celebrations, at every national event, stay draped in your flag every day of your waking life, or call in every talk-show for every day for the rest of your life and recite the pledge of allegiance in the most dramatic and passionately frothy manner as that of a grassroots Baptist preacher deep into his Sunday morning sermon about how you are all going to hell if you don't repent, making parishioners fall into the full spirit (not half spirit, but full spirit), turning the Church auditorium into a violent sea of Glory with the choir and band in the background sending them higher and higher. No!

In fact, while I appreciate those that have the time, inclination and energy to show this affection at every day of their waking life, I am not a fan of those that say that one must have this zeal on tap because they say so. I'm also not a fan of those that say: "Oh, you don't go on our little protests and marches and rallies. You are not serious about this country, because if you were, you would show up with us and show people how serious you are!" Yea, the emotional politicking and grandstanding goes very, very deep indeed. They almost make you feel guilty for not being a part of their cause of the day.

My thing is, and I speak for myself and maybe for a small-faction of intellectual dissidents that don't appreciate being "goosied" into the self-righteous indignations of the day: Don't judge me, and do not question anyone's love or heart based on what you feel it is. I love my country, and I show it in my own way when I want to. Fair? Fair!

Why do I love this country, one may ask? What's so great about this country that you love it with a burning fire deep down in your soul? Well, the obvious answer to it is: What other country was I born in, a country that is mine and that I would most likely be buried in? If you don't like where you are, or at least make the best of life where you are, then what good is life to you and this country to you? Consider it.

Also, what's not to love about it? Joblessness, crime and the political and governmental inertia aside, the people are cool people, if I may say so myself. I have no true problem with the lot of you, to be quite honest.

Bahamians are nice to a fault at times, however. Overly nice to the point where some would mistake that for foolish. Seriously. But that is not an overwhelmingly bad thing, it's just that we need to find ways to love in different ways that shows our strength and decency than just laying down, flat on our back, like a puppy looking for a doggie snack and a belly rub from their master.

I feel we owe it to ourselves to love our country a little more than what we do. That love does not mean we kiss, hug and look the other way when things are going on that affect our lives. It means the exact opposite, quite frankly.

How can one say that one loves their country and see a violation taking place, but say nary a word let alone do something about it? That doesn't mean you have to march on parliament, but every day acts of acknowledgement for the good and the bad works just as well. In fact, private rebuke, in significant times and places, works just as well as open rebuke and public shaming.

Also, there is nothing in this country that should be seen as a sacred cow. Absolutely nothing. No one person, from the Governor General to the young toddler in the inner city, deserves a pass off-top because they feel, or some feel, they deserve it this one time.

On the contrary, this forgive them now, this one time, or let's have pity on this one now because we feel he is sorry, works out to the detriment in more instances than it helps. There must be accountability at all levels. If you can't hold your brother, cousin, mother, father, wife, husband, etc... to account, then you serve us and this country no use whatsoever.

What happens is, and this is one of the faults of our overly loving and understanding people, is that when we show that blind-eye to wickedness under the rubric of being caring and loving, or show that understanding for behaviour and acts that are deleterious to the fabric of our society and small enclaves as being "just that incident", it continues more often than not. What happens is the worst of the worst amongst us, from the criminals with the handguns and knives to the other criminals with their pen and paper, from the street corner to the government to the church hall, game your emotions and get away with the most egregious forms of debauchery and wickedness because you like them and can't separate their penchant for anti-social behaviour from their person.

My call to all saints and aint's: If you love your country as you say you do, always do the right thing. Always love it from the position that if it were me, what would I want done? If it were my life, name, family, etc... on the line, then how should this be dealt with?

Show love. True love. I love The Bahamas!
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