It’s a place, with the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south, with Colombia to the east and Costa Rica to the west.
But mostly it’s a nation composed of people. Panama is Indigenous, and European, and African and Asian. It’s Catholic and Protestant and Jewish and Hindu and Muslim and Buddhist and Bahai and non-believing. At The Crossroads of The World, almost everybody and everything passes through, and we have developed our own distinctive if many times imperfect sensibilities of how to pick and choose among what they have to offer.
Do we want to define ourselves as what we are not? It gets to be a slippery slope. And WHO we are not? That can and often does get downright ugly.
Back in 1903 we decided that we would no longer be a part of Colombia’s never-ending civil conflicts. Since then a lot of Colombians have come and woven themselves into the fabric of Panamanian society precisely because they were looking for peace.
We have had a complicated relationship with the United States. Still, along the way Panama embraced and assimilated a lot of Americans, and still does. There is a consensus not to embrace the meanest strands of that society to the north. Even if, as a world boxing power, we often beat them up.
Can Panama be improved? Of course. Let other people brag about how great their countries are. For Panamanians, national improvement is the essence of patriotism.
¡Que viva Panamá!
Bear in mind…
It is not impossible for honest men and patriotic men to live together, working for their country, if they have the flexibility to recognize their mistakes, if they are capable of loving their fellow men and appreciate that others are as worthy as they are to be happy.
Power doesn’t corrupt. It unmasks.
The voters need to deploy all their honesty to resist the onslaught of the parties — they should never adopt another guide than their conviction of the merits of the citizens whom they have decided to elect.
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