EDITOR, The Tribune
AS members of parliament voted on the constitutional equality bills yesterday, I am reminded that far too many people in The Bahamas are prejudiced against women; far too many people are bigots owing to their religious indoctrination; and far too many people are ignorant to their own human rights.
Regardless, I maintain the view that for the silent majority, gender equality is a core value needing no justification or explanation. Gender equality is an issue of fundamental importance that is as mainstream as racial equality or economic justice.
So in the window of time between the vote yesterday and the referendum later this year, I am not going to exhaust my energy on ignoramuses. I am hedging my bets on the silent majority, trusting they will go out and vote, even if silently, for an equitable Bahamas that values its little girls and little boys equally. If they don’t and the referendum fails a second time, losing out to prejudice, bigotry, ignorance and political child’s play (i.e. tit-for-tat politics) then I’d say, you’re welcome Bahamas; you got the outcome you deserved. That this referendum is even contentious is farcical.
But this fight is much bigger than the incompetence and opportunism of our political leaders in the majority and opposition. Every Bahamian who shares the vision of an equitable Bahamian society that embraces the principle of gender equality must utterly set aside their partisan politics; must completely shake off their cynicism; must overcome their indifference; and reject any tendency toward cowardice, laziness or nonchalance.
Instead, they need to simply do two things: go out and vote when the time comes, and stand unashamedly and unapologetically for equality. The Bahamas is fighting for its soul right now and all men and women are called to exercise their responsibility as citizens. It is not playtime; it is nation building time, and collectively we must build a nation that holds equality as a core value. It is as simple as that.
I offer this commentary to the silent majority that I know exists, asking that you please step up and wield your power to shape our nation for the better. Do not let this moment pass uncontested. I ask this on behalf of our ancestors, our fellow citizens and the unborn children of The Bahamas.
March 3, 2016