The current political situation in our homeland
warrants discussion on the importance of patriotism as an ingredient in our lives. I will discuss briefly how B. V. Islanders have shown their patriotism in the past and what seems to be happening today.
Patriotism refers to the passionate love an individual has for his/her
homeland. This virtue has empowered B. V. Islanders to work selflessly to make this Territory better. In other words patriotism means putting the Territory's interests first and then thinking about oneself.
Mark Twain defines patriotism as follows:
"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it."
Another writer refers to it
as "the feeling of loyalty and allegiance that is the result of knowledge and belief. A patriot shows their patriotism through their actions, by their choice." When everyone works for the betterment of the homeland, it will be a happier homeland where theŕe will be very little or no conflict of interests and the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood will develop a harmonious environment in which to live. Some of the ways we demonstrate our patriotism are:
Standing for the national anthem and Territorial song,
Reciting the Tertitotial pledge;
Wearing the national dress;
Registering to vote and voting in general elections;
Volunteering for community service;
Serving on juries;
Running for elected office;
Obeying the laws of the Tertitory;
Paying your taxes;
Unerstanding your rights and responsibilities as written in the Constitution.
The shared values and beliefs of B. V Islandeŕs and their shared pride have brought our forebears together and helped them to regain the Legislative Council in 1950, remained united outside the West Indies Federation in the 1950"s,
And fight for ministerial government in 1967. These corporate values and beliefs united them in their struggles to overcome. Many decades ago we were taught these values in school and encouraged to practise them in our daily lives. We have not been faithful in continuing that element of our citizenship so our patriotism today is not rooted in the values and brliefs that have helped to define us in the past. Sad to say it applies to leaders and followers alike. The love for one another and the unity among us have been diluted with the love for the materialism which floods our minds and hearts. Materialism has weakened our patriotism today. Our present political dilemma is fruits from the seeds of materialism which we have sown. For many of us, our patriotic allegiance is to the "green bank." That has helped to take us down to the level of the implementation of the CoI's recommendations-an albatros around our necks, a sinking rock tied to our feet ready to be heaved overboard. I encourage you to reflect seriously on the relationship between your heart, your mind, and your homeland.
(To be continued.)
- Dr. Charles H. Wheatley