Society and culture are not static things. They constantly evolve and those who make up any community must always be prepared for change. In fact, failure to accept change can often make our lives more difficult than they need to be.
But that does not mean that all change will be good, and that every shift ought to be willingly embraced. When we think of change we cannot do so without being clear in our minds about what is acceptance — particularly within the context of that famous Edmund Burke quote: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”.
And that is the crux of our discourse today. Our society is being beset by change that we often do not support, and with good reason, but at the same time we are unwilling to take a public stance against it — and pretty soon it becomes the norm.
Take the way so many of our motorists conduct themselves on the road. We don’t want to offend or “get into anything with anybody” so we look the other way and end up with minibuses “dragging” along our busy highways with long lines of traffic behind them during off-peak times. Then they rush through peak time traffic, willing to demolish anyone who gets in their way.
We have other motorists whose mufflers are designed to extract maximum noise, to such an extent that when they are passing 50 metres away you can’t hear a television next to you or continue a telephone conversation. Again we turn a blind eye.
We have now developed a cadre of young and not-so-young Barbadians who use the most obscene language even in casual conversations to such an extent that they believe it is normal behaviour — largely because we have tolerated them.
But there are some even more “fundamental” aspects of our way of life that we have apparently surrendered to criminals and louts because we don’t want to get into anything with anybody. Pretty soon there will be nothing left to get into.
One of our major beefs is with recreational fishing. There are too many Barbadians who for years enjoyed the peace, quiet and relaxation of heading to the beach at night with their fishing rods or fishing lines, who now openly declare they will not do it for fear of being challenged by cops as being engaged in some drug smuggling activity; or worse yet, being targeted by gangsters who see them as a threat to their illegal ventures.
Fishing is now restricted in many cases to well lit spots or close to some police station or other security facility. Big men who once frequented locations such as Batts Road on the St. James/St. Michael border or, the cliffs of St. Lucy and many places between are now too afraid of confrontation.
Again, we must all ask ourselves if when we take such approaches we are not in the process giving tacit approval to the unwanted behaviour. It is time to take back our streets, our beaches and our air (or should that be ear) spaces, from the inconsiderate and criminal who apparently have no regard for the concept of community.
It is clear that an increasing number of those who live among us believe that they have a right to plant marijuana on any available piece of land, hence the huge increase in discoveries of the locally grown “herb” by police. Are we going to turn a blind eye to this too and wait to be overrun?
We need to start talking, to register our protest by informing authorities. We no longer have excuses about not wanting to be known because everyone has a cellphone and hiding the number is a simple process. If we choose not to act we are going to end up giving up a lot more than fishing at Batts Rock at night!