There is an insidious phenomenon in our country. It is the main cause of all the suspicion, mistrust and even blind hate that has characterized our republic. It is the inability to appreciate nuance – The different shades of the same thing; the two sides of the same coin; the different rhythms played on the same drum.
Many a time, you are classified simply as for or against a particular religion, political party or tribe without a necessary critical appreciation of your views. You criticize a particular government policy or sections of it, and suddenly you are branded an enemy of the government. If you decry an action of the opposition, you are quickly marked an obsequious government spin master (If a government official – an apparatchik) enjoying the largess of the day.
Thus, in our quick attempt to box persons based on their genuine views, we most often confuse dissent with disloyalty. So a member of cabinet hesitates to call for an amendment of that poorly constituted bill – because he will immediately be perceived a traitor. A member of the opposition cannot commend or recommend a good deed of the government – for it is a sacrilegious affront to partisan commitment.
In effect, we have all become ostriches incapable of commenting on the emperor’s new clothes. In such duplicity, we hold steadfast to the dogmas of our party, a church, the mosque, our tribe or community of friends – even if our instincts strongly disagree with some of their conventions.
But it is important to know that colours, like races, are not just black or white – and so are the events of life. We must be courageous to speak our latest conviction today without fear; and go on to revise our position on same if need be, in the event of chancing on better particulars or a clearer understanding.
In the 21st century, many are the twists buried in straight looking laws and many binding cords in free aid. Many seemingly helpful policies maybe wrought with abysmal implementation. To this extent, fanatic support can only land us onto that broad road which surely leads to destruction.
In effect, to survive and then dream to do better, we must learn to be savvy, tolerant and extremely perceptive in our dealings. Otherwise, all we do shall remain a zero sum game despite the noble intentions that my abound.
Till then, by and large, Ghana still remains that simple Yes or No Republic at 55.