Article - Elder S. Ofotsu Ofoe (2)

THE POWER AND THE GLORY: A Question of Bad Politics within a Democracy – By Elder S. Ofotsu Ofoe


Within every civilization, men arise who crave power and a certain glory. A major arena this is seen is politics. Mere men claim to possess a peculiar ability to be able to administer the affairs of society. Diverse views on the best means of running society are sold usually. The crux of political opinions from all angles is the promise of a utopian society. These multiple political views lead to the emergence of manifold political identities, hence multiple political caucuses. If the republic is allowed, it would have an unending number of political parties. The consequence of this is that the republic has to grabble with highly conflicting ideas towards the utopia so promised. Countrymen in their craze over popular votes adopt rather unscrupulous means to winning the masses. The society they vow to make ideal is torn asunder. He who is willing to judge aright would soon discover the real intention of those who hunt for political power. Our very short reflection will call the righteous into government; cajole the republic from drawing the name of God into the mud; rebuke the political campaigns of fallacy, and point out the futility of the power and glory so desired by the architects of bad politics.

 “Under the Government of Worse men”

Many a citizen who looks upon the society that is drained by the deeds of the leaders within the state deems the court of government as the place for foul players. The upright man flees from having a say within the polity. The decadence within the state is made worse for the reason that, those who are burnt on depriving society of its wealth never get enough. Have we become the richer or the poorer because of our abstinence from the affairs of the state? To all who are righteous, must we not give ears to the sermon of Plato? In his iconic dictum, he asserts that “The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men.”

Society is threatened by bad governance so he who thinks well of humanity is weary of getting involved in public discussion towards the presumable well-being of society. Though there is the problem of bad politics, the citizens of right morals, right motives, right philosophies; the wise citizen must engage in the democracy. Indeed the sin that plagues the republic gives upright men and women more reason to contribute to the democracy. This platonic counsel, if accepted with the expected attitude, will hew from the mountain of dirty politics, a stone of hygienic politics, to adopt a statement of Martin Luther King.

On the Politicization of the Oracles of God in the Secular Polity

One thing is popular within democracies; this is the invocation of the name of God.  Citizens go beyond political debate into a spiritual dimension by confessing that God is in favour of their political opinion. The politics of prophecy is becoming an institutionalised means of political debates. Persons seeking political power go to do special divinatory consultation on their fortunes in political elections. The awareness that people of the republic are influenced by what seers say concerning political elections, causes seekers of power to make bad use of prophets. Interestingly, oracles from one God can speak of victory in the same elections for more than one party. Bad politics claims God said something, meanwhile he has not.

Though there are several types of governments today, theocracy remains the mother of them all. In those days, society is ruled by ecclesiastical leaders. Many thinkers on politics in the modern world are of the view that today’s government is to be secular. In any case, we see pockets of theocracy in modern governments. In the democratic regime, theocracy is almost rampant. Indeed states that define themselves as secular cannot deny the hand of the Almighty God in their polity. Sadly, the name of God is largely used in vain in the republic. Selling to the masses what God has not said as if he has said it is nothing less than suffocation of society. It thwarts critical thinking and may get worse men into ruling the affairs of the state. The so-called prophets of God in their quest to receive favour, power, and glory have become a thorn in the flesh of good politics in the republic. They claim divine ability and many citizens rally after them no matter their manner of life. They dare to poke a finger at divinity under the cloak of liars. Professor Christian G. Baëta was right when he indicated that men would emerge in society periodically claiming to possess a certain divine power and would get large following despite their blatant crooked life. Is this a pathologic vestige of theocracy within the democracy? Is it that members of the republic are attempting to contextualize theocracy into the democracy? These may be so to some extent but largely this is a mark of foul politics. Thou shall not profane the name of God in the name of politics.

True Political Campaign stands Diametrically Opposed to Ad hominem

Politics is supposed to be a competition of ideas. However, the scene within democracies shows otherwise. Politics of ideas has become politics of insult. It is expected of the good politician to deal with the real issues at hand for the betterment of the republic but to a very large extent, the power-drunk and glory-smitten politician swerves the real issues and devotes his debate to attacking opponents. This is bad politics.

What end does this bring to society? In their resolve to lay hands on glory, the bad politician proceeds in his political discourse to denigrate the glory of the person of opponents. The personality of political opponents is slurred bitterly. At the end of the day, nothing good comes out of the political debates within the democracy. In this vein, horrible politicians fallaciously appeal to the masses of the people at the emotional level. Their thinking is clouded by the wrong debate that is presented to them. The citizens and hence participants of the democracy who are supposed to be the adjudicators of the political debate must be wise if not the dust of bad politics would be perpetually thrown into their eyes and society suffers. Citizens display their folly every now and then by supporting the evil of their leaders. Many are ready to die and kill to support the political ideology they consider as true. Our engagement in democracy must be based on intellect and not on fables. Instead of exchanging ideas for the good of all, they exchange blows, stones, clubs, bullets, and all that maims and destroys. This is unequivocally folly.

It is quite fascinating that people praise the politics of fallacy. Many reckon politics as synonymous with lies thus bad politics that uses ad hominem is held as smart politics. It is not hard to hear within the democracy that a person is a good politician for the reason that he based his politics on fibs. He who wants to be a good politician for the love of society must abstain from falsehood. This good politician must place himself above the low level politics of insult and seek the mandate of society to genuinely seek the welfare of the people. The campaigns of this politician need to deal with the actual issues that confront the republic.

To Conclude: The Verity of the Vanity of Power

But to what extent does the power wrestle for by those who are consumed by it rest with them? Soon the days go by and the reality of human life becomes apparent. Those who maltreat society by their bad politics; stealing from the poor to enrich themselves, denying the innocent people of even their peace and security, and making a fool of the people, will soon be faced with the truth of life. The power and glory will soon come falling and how great is that fall. Failure to learn from history has disadvantaged society greatly. Nevertheless, the lessons are there. Many within civilizations who think they are invincible by their bad politics within a democracy have been mocked by history. Let it be known to all who desired the good of society that democracy encourages them to contribute to the well-being of life and by their hygienic politics society can be spared of bad politics. Civil obedience must be held in high esteem by them. They must exult peace within the democracy and be ruled by the fear of God.

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