August 28, 2017
"We have to keep transforming ourselves to stay relevant." - Maurice Levy
There has been a lot of discussion lately about some persons' attempts to remain relevant. Many former public figures are striving daily to keep themselves in the spotlight in an attempt to stay relevant to society. Therefore, this week, we are going to Consider this... How does one stay relevant in Bahamian society?
The dictionary defines "relevant" as "closely connected or appropriate to what is being done or considered" and "appropriate to the current time, period or circumstances of contemporary interest". There is a natural drive in many persons to attain relevancy, which is often construed as importance, in their particular area of interest or expertise. Many of us have worked with someone who overextends themselves into areas other than their own to appear to be knowledgeable and well-informed about a wide range of subjects, giving themselves an aura of authority and power that they do not actually possess.
Fall from grace
We all know of people whose words were always listened to and whose opinions were sought on many issues, particularly people in the political arena. Those persons were the epitome of relevance, involved as they were in making important decisions that affected our daily lives. While in office, they were all "closely connected or appropriate to what was being done or considered".
When they are not in office, some of those who have never been able to create an alternative and satisfying life outside of politics are left bereft of all the heady relevance they enjoyed while in power. These are the people, empty and hollow, who are now scrambling to keep their relevance any way they can so their lives can still have meaning.
It is these kinds of individuals who need to understand - and hear clearly - that the people of The Bahamas have said with almost one voice, "You are no longer wanted; you are no longer relevant. Go away."
It was not merely a ripple of change on May 10; it was a tsunami of transformation that the voters demanded. Because of that resounding rejection, the PLP and everyone associated with it need to understand that it is not business as usual. The PLP is no longer the party that is relevant to the people, full of individuals who are relevant to the well being of the nation. It is now a party that must deeply examine itself from the bottom up and realize that those things that it thought it knew about its constituents are no longer valid.
That is the most important building block of relevancy: knowing the facts about those to whom you would be relevant, understanding and empathizing with their desires, needs, values and concerns clearly and, also, being able to offer them practical solutions and a vision for their futures that make sense.
But those who are seeking to remain relevant in the same old way have just not gotten that message that those old answers and myopic visions for the future have been rejected, rebuffed and refused. In other words, what they were calling relevant is no longer that; it was irrelevant to the majority who went to the polls.
So how do they once again attain that much-desired position of relevancy? How do they make a comeback to being relevant to today's Bahamian?
Firstly, they just should stop trying to comment on today's issues with yesterday's rejected viewpoints. They should realize that their opinions are now outdated, that they were fired for what they espoused and that what they believe is no longer relevant or desirable to the people.
They have to wake up, shut up and look around. By being observant and realizing what they thought was relevant is not, they will open themselves up to hearing and seeing the realities of now.
Oh, it may conflict with what they thought they knew and what they believed was the truth of the situation, but, if it is more than they can bear to become current, then they should step back indefinitely and accept that they will never again be relevant. However, if they can manage to adapt to the new standard that is our post-2017 general election Bahamas, then they can begin to rebuild their relevancy.
If not, if they continue to subject Bahamians to the misguided and inappropriate attempts at relevancy on the part of political has-beens, then they need to adjust to being ignored and discounted by the masses as they slip, kicking and screaming noiselessly, into political oblivion.
It is sad that those who wielded such power and had, we would like to think, the nation's well-being at heart should be so intransigent and unbending that they cannot perceive the will of the people and adapt to it to continue to serve. The country does not need those who wish to be relevant to a reality that no longer exists. We need men and women who are relevant to our NOW, not to our yesterdays.
Secondly, in order to continue to be relevant, one needs to understand that sometimes absence does make the heart grow fonder. Relentless reminders of these individuals by their persistent presence in the press only serves to continually confirm the electors' choice when they voted them out of office, especially when they come with the same-old, same-old.
By removing themselves for a time from the arena and allowing the deep, painful wounds to heal, when they return, they will perhaps stand a better chance of being listened to, whereas now, just the mention of their names or the sound of their voices evokes an immediate dismissal of whatever they have to say, relevant or not.
To be concise, to once again become relevant, you must first realize that you are not, that what was previously relevant is now repugnant and that no one wants to hear any feeble attempts to take us back to those days and those ways that were soundly rejected nearly four months ago.
It is a new time, so you need to become a new person to be relevant to that new time. It is that simple and, at the same time, that difficult. To do otherwise would be to instantly become and eternally remain a political dinosaur, relegated to brief mentions in the pages of the dusty history books of tomorrow - a cruel, but inevitable fate for those who would be relevant to yesterday, oblivious to the changing demands of a thousand tomorrows.
o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis and Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to email@example.com.
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