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Pt. 3: The conclusion – the re-sensitization process for national development


Published: Jul 22, 2017

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Dear Editor,

Thank you for printing the final article in this series.

Now the summation. We must move toward a re-sensitivity, move toward a respect for absolute divine authority, then relative human, governmental authority — the authority of love. As we move forward, we begin by acknowledging Martin Luther King Jr.’s lament that whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly; each man’s death diminishes me. Cain had no idea that he began the process of his own psychological and physiological suicide when he committed the homicide of Abel. When our natural instinct to life predominates, when we realize the interrelatedness of all life, then we are more reluctant to diminish ourselves, consequently more willing to sustain ourselves through the sustaining of others, knowing that we are our brother’s keeper. It continues by respecting the Christian truism that we are made imago dei, in God’s image, and realize that from the prophetic “Thus saith the Lord” emanates the timeless, universal laws that provide a framework of ethical, moral conduct that makes all mankind safe, self-actualized and divine in his daily comportment.

Re-sensitization continues by King Zedekiah (political authority) asking the Jeremiahs (prophets) of his day — “is there a Word from the Lord?” For whatever historical reason or excuse, regardless of why the king hardly consults with the prophet, king, prophet and priest should function in tandem. We cannot afford to import the doctrine of separation of church and state — practicing atheistic pragmatism, not deistic governance. There must be an abiding sense of accountability of the king to God first and foremost, developed in his personal life, then demonstrated in his public life by incorporating the priestly and prophetic functions in state affairs.

Re-sensitization steadies along when the king himself performs the role as priest (Saul offering sacrifices, Jehoshaphat calling solemn assemblies in national emergencies). Our leader at any governmental period ought to know when to pray as a Solomon. Such leadership ministers to the holistic (body, mind, spirit) needs of society — socially, spiritually, educationally, economically. The paradigm of being primarily responsible for economic prosperity is myopic, deductionistic, thus detrimental to being a “father” of the nation. The king must know when to adorn the hat of the shepherd, speaking passionately to his flock, leading to green pastures (economic prosperity), leading beside still waters (emotional security), leading in the paths of righteousness (morally). This subsuming “ king, prophetic, priestly function”, could catapult the much-needed re-sensitization process.

Further, the king (government, including opposition), priests/prophets (ecclesiastical body) and business community must know when to come together to triangulate nation building efforts. This builds morale and meaning in the individual, and the collective conscience of each citizen. This trifold coming together, demanding partisan political “un-clothing” and the “re-clothing” of the “I am a Bahamian first” garment, is absolutely necessary. The lack of such a roundtable of discussions, identification of deep structured problems, and the formulation of strategies indicative of a systems approach to a national development plan to combat social ills of various sorts and degrees, can only hasten our descent into a national abyss. Said Dr. King, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Re-sensitization will use this triangulation to create a national development plan that transcends political governments, becomes our governmental national development constitution as it were, although successive governments may use different strategies.

Re-sensitization will mean more of a proactive and preemptive, not reactional, approach to national civility. Increase in police manpower, cars, other resources are laudable. A just and expedient judiciary is commendable. Enforcement of capital punishment perhaps? But these are all reactive, not proactive. Bahamians must combat crimes beginning with brotherly sensitivity inside each individual spirit. We love ourselves, love our brother. Hurting the brother then becomes hurting ourselves. That is a beginning, but ultimate national endeavor.

Re-sensitization begins with every man policing himself just by being a law-abiding citizen. A re-sensitization of the need to follow simple law and order is excruciatingly lacking. If there is a growing cultural disregard and disdain for authority, at least police yourself. Society has been historically centered on the major crimes and violation of laws, but we have unfortunately paid little attention to the smaller violations. We know that termites eat away at foundations. Corroding rust starts and seems small on steel, but give it time. We must re-sensitize ourselves to the importance of basic, every day, seemingly innocuous or harmless violations. For these sow the seeds of tolerance for the greater, subconscious, cultural imbedding of anarchy that blossoms into present society.

I remember vividly a staff meeting while teaching at A.F. Adderley in the mid-nineties. We had convened to discuss the gang violence that was destroying the school, threatening teacher and student safety. “Enough was Enough” was the motif. During the meeting I raised a question and made a comment that relegated me to the category of either a rebel, non-conformist, or just plain old out of touch. I challenged my colleagues to not look at the few students who were always engaging in deviant and violent gang fighting. I asked them to consider that their fighting was not always premeditated. Some of it was, but the majority of it was reactionary to unforeseen circumstances. The real problem we have on this campus, I said confidently, was not the occasional fighting. The real defiant, anti-authority, “bad” students were the ones who walk through the gate every single day, intentionally and blatantly violating uniform codes — improper shoes, pants, excessive and forbidden accessories, no crests, tardiness to school, to class, etc.

Off course I was castigated, stared at, and my comments were disregarded. The point I was making was that there was a population that was deliberately defying school rules, practicing student anarchy on a lower, apparently insignificant level. These were the most problematic, presenting the most disrespect for, and destruction of, the system. These were the quintessential rule breakers, not the student who un-intentionally, non-premeditatedly, accidently provoked and engaged in a fight of spontaneity — just a spur of the moment bumped into, shoes walked on, thinking it was intentional provocation, or jealousy over a guy talking to, or yelling at, his girl type stuff.

This is a good place to proffer that a re-sensitization needed to help alleviate the senseless violence in this country is to strongly recommend that our students be introduced to core human values at early ages, thus calling for a slight adjustment to the school curriculum. Personal and social adjustment classes and conflict management skills should be taught early in primary school. Bend trees while they are young. But basic respect for self, others and the properties of others must be inculcated during formal academic years.

Re-sensitization realizes that while less than 5 percent of our population engages in violent criminal behavior, there is an exponential amount who are every day, in simple but profound ways, violating our laws intentionally, defiantly, blatantly. If we are serious, then a re-sensitization would excoriate those apparent simple acts of blatant disregard for law and order. But excoriating these acts reflects one observing acts of another. How about us getting to that point when we judge, police and lawfully referee ourselves? True patriotism is adhering to cultural and moral norms, avoiding unlawful, or any other behavior to ingratiate our own needs in the moment at the expense of civility. True patriotism is demonstrated when the collective consciousness reflects the individual law-abiding proclivity, thus the individual determines the collective. The whole is not greater than the part.

In conclusion, re-sensitization informs us that in Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall of Rome’, the threat was not foreigners, not external, but internal. Gradual rejection of collective responsibility, gradual desensitization toward commune-ism and gradual acceptance of moral degeneration, political corruption, religious tyranny/hypocrisy and individual gratification, all led to Rome’s demise. It was a gradual seed planting before the implosion, the destruction of the self by the self from within the self. Then came the accusation “Nero fiddled while Rome burned”. May we all stop the fiddling, quit the finger pointing, because all incurred great loss, not Nero alone.

Re-sensitize. Love. Love, respect God as the source of absolute truth. Love yourself, then others. Cain must be Abel’s keeper, for thus he keeps and cherishes himself. Remember, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools”.

Love my country.

 

- Dr. “B”

 


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