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Tue, 28 May 2024 Feature Article

Political Literacy Demystified - Wise Political Choices Using The Smart Decision Toolkit

Political Literacy Demystified-Wise Political Choices Using The Smart DecisionToolkit
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Almost every five years, people in many democratic societies vote for their political leaders at the national and local governance levels, and the candidate who get the majority of the votes becomes the office bearer for the next five (5) years.

As such, the most important thing about voting in an election is that it determines who governs the community for half a decade, and thus voting has a serious effect on the socio-economic reality of the masses in both the short- and long-term.

During the campaigning season, many people get charmed by the promises in the political campaigns led by various candidates, and thus influencing the decisions of the electorate on who they must vote for, but the question remains — Which Candidate Is The Wise Choice?

No matter what people are promised during the campaign season, the wise choice does not lie is choosing the most intelligent, eloquent, most educated or humble politician but in choosing a person who knows the meaning and essence of politics in relation to his community and the world around it.

In my book, Primitive Politics and The Poverty Machinery, I wrote that Politics deals with the administration of societal affairs towards enhancing interpersonal interaction for a peaceable co-existence in progressively adapting to the dictates of nature.

I further added that politics in general entails the creation, provision, maintenance, development and promotion of a conducive environment for a harmonious and progressive interaction of humanity in a given territory.

When it comes to politics, it is not really the candidate who matters the most in the elections but the voter, in the sense that if the electorate lacks an understanding of the meaning and dynamics of politics, they will make excitable and foolish decisions at their own expense.

Unfortunately, the majority of the electorate dismally lack a basic understanding of politics and governance, and thus, despite their good intentions and excitement at the ballot box, most people tend to make wrong political choices which they always regret.

If you would do a survey before and after the elections, you will be shocked to note that many people who are committed to vote do not even know what it is exactly that a president, member of parliament or councilor does, and yet their vote carries the same weight with that of an informed member of society.

Regrettably, most people do not know or do not believe in using any decision-making framework in choosing a politician to represent them, and they also do not know of any accountability mechanism to adopt towards making politicians perform their duties effectively and responsibly.

Unfortunately, like I always say, the tragic reality of life is that if you make serious decisions on a subject which you are not well informed about, you are likely to appoint yourself as the factory manager of your own problems regardless of your good intentions and excitement.

In my other book, The Smart Decision Handbook, I propose and recommend the adoption of what I termed the Smart Decision Toolkit when it comes to making any decision in your life including issues to do with politics.

This toolkit is premised on the Fundamental Congruence Checklist which is basically a set of ten questions which helps you to process information about a certain subject in order for you to understand it better.

For example, when it comes to politics, a Fundamental Congruence Checklist seeks to answer critical questions that are important for analysing the information which you use to make political decisions.

It is a multi-versatile decision-making tool that can be used to gauge the relevance, effectiveness, and impact of anything in life through answering a structured set of ten questions.

For example, concerning elections, the electorate must have the following questions in mind and then strive to seek the answers thereof. More-so, people who want to venture into politics need to also ask themselves the same questions regarding the electorate.

1) What is a President, Member of Parliament, Mayor, Councillor etc?

2) What do these people do and how? — What are their key result areas or objectives and how are they accomplished?

3) Why do these people perform these duties? — Why are those the key result areas, objective, or purpose?

4) What happens if these people do not do anything or does not perform as expected?

5) Where is this thing or person situated in the whole political matrix and in life — what position does these people occupy in my life?

6) Why are these people so important to me? — Why do I allow them to occupy such a space in the matrix of my life?

7) What happens if I don’t vote for this person or even if I don’t vote at all?

8) Who makes sure that a President, Member of Parliament, Mayor, Councillor etc performs his/her duties effectively and responsibly? — Who makes sure that these people perform their work as planned?

9) How is the effectiveness of a President, Member of Parliament, Mayor, Councillor etc assessed? — How do we as the electorate know if a President, Member of Parliament, Mayor, Councillor etc is effective or not?

10) What happens if a President, Member of Parliament, Mayor, Councillor etc is effective or not — What are the related consequences?

When you don’t ask yourself these ten questions, you are most likely to make excitable political decisions that are very costly and regrettable since the people you vote for will determine how your tax money is used and what kind of life you will live.

Even if you shall vote them out after five years because of their malperformance, they might have caused serious damage to the wellbeing of the nation through engaging your country in unnecessary wars, increasing the national debt or plunging the nation into inflation.

As such, the ten questions in the Congruence Checklist gives you a broader perspective when you want to make a political decision since it has an effect on your health, time, money and other resources.

This Congruence Checklist helps to reveal the probable consequences of your political decision on various other aspects of your life, i.e. the financial, emotional, or spiritual implications of your decisions and actions.

The main advantages of this checklist as a decision tool are that the first three questions focus on clarity on the subject matter by shedding light on the definition, purpose and processes associated with politics and the political actors involved.

The focus on these three issues helps with assurance/confidence on the fact that when you are making a political decision, you are doing so on a subject that you clearly understand.

Question Four (4) on the checklist helps you to be open-minded enough to understand that despite good intentions, a person you vote for may fail to deliver, and thus your mind should be prepared from the beginning to be able to deal with such failures and to also come up with Plan B or even C.

The fifth, sixth and seventh questions on the checklist has a ‘Pareto’ effect in that it deals with essence and relevance of your political decisions and the duties of political actors, and thus helps in evaluating the worthiness of consideration, adoption, and implementation of your political convictions.

These three questions focus on the assessment of importance. When you answer these questions, you will be able to understand if your political decision is really worth your time, money, energy and resources.

Question Eight (8) seeks to identify a person or group of people who are responsible for making sure that the elected officials are accountable and perform as expected. It shows us those individuals that are tasked with the mandate of making sure that everything goes as planned.

The nineth and tenth question seek to address the issue of effectiveness, results and impact of our political choices and performance of the people we elect, since lack of clarity on these issues are very costly in terms of time, energy, money and other resources.

The Smart Decision Toolkit helps the electorate to make openminded political decisions and take informed action which they themselves and the elected officials are accountable for.

Those who make political decisions without the use of any decision framework or toolkit, whether in their individual capacity or as a group tend to act whimsically (emotionally) than logically at the expense of themselves, their families, friends and the community at large.

It is therefore critically important for both the politicians and the electorate to adopt the Smart Decision Toolkit in their quest to build better societies across the world.

Brian is an Author, Media Practitioner, Entrepreneur and Consultant who is passionate about helping people make informed decisions and take informed action in the pursuit of their personal and corporate goals using the Smart Decision Toolkit.

For training and assistance on how to effectively use the Smart Decision Toolkit (Fundamental Congruence Checklist), contact Brian on — [email protected]

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