Between the Scylla of self gain and the Charybdis of patriotism

2015 is here and while we go about heaping our lives with to-do lists that expire on the 31st day of December this year, let’s not lose sight of the basic things that can make or mar our year. I didn’t take a blogging break with the intention to come back and bore you with a lecture on choices. But truth be told, what you choose to do this year will determine how things turn. Personally,I wouldn’t be meddling in your private lives, however this country is made up of about 25 million lives and most of our decisions will affect others within the country (me included)- You can call it patriotism,I don’t mind.

Last semester, before an Administrative law exam,a classmate asked me an interesting question of whether or not the wife of a sitting president could divorce her husband through court action. I knew the answer to the question was one that involved two necessary evils. Either the self gain of the first lady or her duty to respect the office of the president and the law by not contravening the constitution in her quest to sue him in his personal capacity. But that is a legal discourse for another day. Coming to think of it though, how do you correct the wrongs of generations without biting the systems that fed you.

The issue is that, many people have accepted mediocrity as a yardstick for measuring results from elected politicians all in the name of respecting the president.In an age where most of our leaders decide much of what affects us all, discretion needs to be exercised with utmost care. Just because the dog is fed in every house does not mean the children should starve to satisfy the norm. I know our president is our king, and as maxim connotes, A KING DOES NO WRONG…but that does not mean every night spent in darkness or IMF agreement or treaty he signs should be lauded when it’s void of anything worth commending.

Others are also wallowing in the ever closed tunnels of the Scylla of self gain. They are so selfish that they hoard treated mosquito nets given to them by charitable organizations to be distributed to the public till the mice in their lives(more interesting to say than homes) die out of chewing the forgotten nets.

And so,only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000-a-plate campaign fundraising event’-GOD/PATRIOTISM/MY COUNTRY/THOUGHTS.

This year, I believe many a civil servant or any citizen of our dear nation will be faced with satisfying their self gain over our national development and others will be faced with being patriotic to their own detriment. The two extremes have severe consequences I would rather not say. So it might make a lot of sense if a blogger is jailed in Kenya for insulting the president on social media. He should have stayed within his limits. The Scylla of his overzealousness to put the president in check as a patriotic citizen has earned him a year of jail time and a fine of $2,200. In this free world, we are even more interdependent and so in making choices we have to exercise discretion for the better of society. Of course he could have criticized the shortcomings of the president without being offensive.  

Sometime ago, I was in a tro-tro on my way to Circle. As we passed by the flagstaff house, not only did I enjoy the scenery,but I also wondered why some people in this country should lack clean drinking water, while the grass at the flag staff house was always wet with the same clean water. The thing is that, at that moment I was considering the personal gain of some Ghanaians over the image of our presidency and sometimes like that day, it gets hard to choose which is more important. Whether this year, we should consider our selves first and perform illegal electrical connections to save cost since dumsor has become our bedmate or continue working hard with integrity to support our leaders is a choice to make. Often you would hear many civil servants mouthing ” is it my fathers work” when they are being chastised for less productivity on their part. But the truth is, a quick politician will always overtake a lazy population.

This is a new year, and we must all look to the future considering our actions in light of what fellow citizens need. Some Ghanaians usually capitalize on the vulnerability of some situations to cheat others for their personal gain, emulating corrupt politicians in a way of negative patriotism. An example is the just ended seasonal theft I saw over the holidays. The centre of these corrupt activities was our transport system. Because a lot of people had sojourns to make and traders got about with more alacrity due to the rise in user consumption of goods and services, some transport providers decided that, it was their time to shine their pockets. Errm, I think Aremeyaw Anas or Mannaseh Azure Awuni of Joy Fm should pay them a visit during Christmas this year. Tickets were sold double their price and others were dispensed at the normal price with back pocket pet’s dabbed “protocol”.That is the Scylla of self gain. We should love ourselves, but not do it in a way that it denies others-that way it becomes corruption.

On the other hand, we should be proud of our country and strive to make it better by abiding by the words in our pledge, by  being faithful and loyal to Ghana our mother land. But this loyalty should not allow us to subject our selves to democratic tyranny, where decisions of elected people cannot be questioned simply because we respect our elders and the highly reverenced office of the president. A leader is not fit to be called honorable, or an excellency if he/she cannot make honorable and excellent policy decisions.

Between the Scylla of our self gain and the Charybdis of patriotism we can find a safe place where the concerns of the children of this dear country will be addressed and creeds we hold high re polished. In the safe haven of political consciousness we can check our leaders, they need accountability partners too, they are not perfect.Rather than join the looting parties in our communities we can stand up this year to make decisions that each Ghanaian, rich or poor,educated or illiterate can appreciate. Discretion, not duty, but it’s still necessary that discretion be exercised dutifully with all consideration of the extremes of our selves and over patriotism. Happy New Year.


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