Christmas comes but once a year, and each year it comes with tidings of comfort and joy. Leading into the holiday season, the English-speaking world is full of the words of many of the well-known carols. “Joy to the world!” But, how long do those sentiments last?
When families get together for these holidays, they hold on to the best intentions, but it often takes little for the sentiments and intentions to be put aside. For nations, too, the holiday season often provides a good platform for politicians to restate the best of intentions. In a few words, next year will be better. For Christians, the lofty sentiments associated with the birth of Christ fill the airwaves, newspapers, and many forms of electronic media.
But, in no time, we are back to same-old, same-old. The Bahamas is no different. In a year that had already registered a record number of murders, people killing people did not take a break. Bureaucracies that were not functioning well before the holidays did not miraculously become centres of excellence in decision-making and implementation. Jobs that were under threat coming into the year-end are not being saved with the wave of a few hands or the uttering of a few pious words. In other words, Christmas does not change the basic realities, no matter how good people may feel or want to feel heading into December.
The annual Boxing Day Junkanoo parade was the now-familiar spectacle of colour and generally enjoyable sounds. This year, it was graced with balmy, warm weather, in contrast to last year’s very frigid air. It started on time, just after midnight, and seemed to be moving along–literally–quite smoothly. People got excited. They were happy to jump and rock and chant (with different degrees of fervour), even if the group performing was not their favourite. Then, apparently there was a hitch with one of the large lead pieces of a major group, then some groups were not ready to start their round, and we were back in the all-too-familiar waiting-to-see situation, with no major group in sight. So it stayed from about 3-4.30am. Our patience and our bodies were tired, so we headed home. We heard later that the last two major groups had appeared between 6-8am, by which time we were fast asleep. When it came time to announce the results, at about 6.30pm, a spokesman for the parade organizers said that things had gone off with no major hitch. It’s a matter of perspective, I guess.
We humans are very good at self-deception and looking for straws to clutch.