The political temperature in the country has been boiling and rising over the years. Although attempts have been made by prominent citizens of our land to lessen the rate of insults and abusive language that have gained currency in our political discourses, it seems the various actors engaged in this nation-wrecking activity are not prepared to give-in. What these individuals fail to understand is that we have only one country, and thus, their continual stoking of the political temperature through their diabolical commentaries and writings will lead to the destruction of the country. Maybe, they don't care a hoot about the future of this great country of ours, but we do. We care because the country has been bequeathed to us through the toil and blood of our forefathers. What we need to do for our great nation is to preserve, protect, and promote it so that we can attain the prosperous destination we are yearning for her. This principal goal is the main reason why we must, at all material times condemn and dissociate ourselves from all those who deliberately use foul and abusive language to promote their trajectory of thinking.
In almost every jurisdiction, we are always confronted with two groups of people: the big minds and the big mouths. By using big mouth in this write-up, I don't mean talkative or loquacious persons or revealer of secrets, but rather those individuals who use abusive, insulting, and vituperative language in expressing and making their points of view. The big minds, however, are those, who are not only measured in their discourses, but are also mindful of the development and future of their country. As we are nurturing our young democracy, folks, we don't need big mouths; we need big minds. This is because big mouths are destructive whereas big minds are builders. It will be in our own and collective interest if we cultivate the virtue of identifying, naming and shaming big mouths. Let us quickly examine the characteristics of these groups of people.
Who are the big mouths? As I have defined above, they are individuals who are not measured in the expression of their views and thus provide the platform for destruction and chaos. They are identified by the following characteristics:
First, they are abusive—In expressing their views or engaging in political discourses, the big mouths resort to insults, vilification and vituperations. Because they lack information, are not competent, bereft of cogent ideas, they always resort to running down their opponents. They might be eloquent, but not intelligent enough to make convincing arguments without holding on to the disgraceful hand of insults. These individuals, apart from disregarding their values and the sanctity and essence of their culture, also inadvertently despise and denigrate their person.
Second, big mouths are petty—In their pettiness, they overlook and deliberately gross over the competence, ability, and contributions of their opponents or the collective good of the people and instead focus on non-essentials. They never credit their opponents with good faith. What they are interested in is to deliberately emasculate the person of their rival, instead of appealing to their exceptionalities. These are individuals who feel inferior to set their achievements and accomplishments against their opponents because of their rival's intimidating credentials.
Third, big mouths are discord sowers—The import of big mouths is that they delight in creating confusion among people. They do this with the singular aim of satisfying their selfish interest. They are not worried if their acts destabilize the nation to foster their interests. They are the group of people who try deliberately to distort the good intentions and pronouncements of their opponents. Why would they do that? The answer is plain and simple; they believe that they can only thrive when confusion is rife.
Finally, big mouths are nation wreckers—Because they are diabolic, their evil machinations almost always lead to the destruction of their nation. They are those who are not worried if their nations assume the semblance of Rwanda, Kenya, and Cote d'Ivoire during their moments of agony. They don't care the least if their unbridled quest for political or economic power will lead to the death of their fellow brothers and sisters and the destruction of their country.
What about the big minds? What characteristics set them apart and also make them productive persons? First, big minds are nation builders. In their discourses they seek to build their nation. They are measured in their discourses and deliberations to the point that they ensure their contributions on issues provide avenues for the solidification of the foundation of their land. When they err in speech or writing, for the sake of the country, they apologize. They understand that to err is human, but will not consciously err to compromise the future of their country. They dream and envision about how their discourses and deliberations can strengthen the foundation of their country. They contribute on national issues, not because of what they stand to gain; but rather how their contributions and ideas could foster and bolster national progress and development.
Second, big minds are peace promoters—They know that when the sanctity of peace is not upheld, the clock of progress will be turned backwards. They are the individuals whose speeches and writings are seasoned with salt and grace. They criticize leaders and governments when they are not ruling according to expectation, but don't insult them. They are pacifists—which make them to subjugate their will for the enduring peace of their people.
Third, big minds are posterity conscious—They speak and write to ensure that the future is made better for posterity. They are also aware that their actions and inactions might be a recipe for disaster which might present difficult challenges for the unborn generations. Instead of saying Ghana will be like Kenya, they will rather say how can we prepare a better nation like the developed countries for the unborn generation? For the big mind, the essence of life is largely about the wellbeing of the next generation. If they have to die for any cause, it will not be about their desire to win political power, but the survival of the future generations.
Fourth, big minds are unity promoters—Big minds eschew tribalism, ethnocentrism, sectionalism, racism, and rather appreciate and promote diversity. They are aware that it is impossible for us to think alike, behave alike, and look alike. Thus in preserving the soul of the nation, they emphasize unity in diversity. The big mouths appreciate the reverse as long as it serves their interests. Big mouths divide and rule, whereas big minds unite to foster progress and development. As we nurture our democracy, our disagreements must lead us towards development and not division; it must orient us towards prosperity and not retardation and poverty.
Finally, big minds are insult averse—They know that insult is a barbaric act and defines the unrefined person. They don't use insult to hide their ineptitude or incompetence; instead they rely on reason and the respect for human dignity. They respect and cherish their opponents and will never denigrate their person. Even when they goof or slip, they are quick to say sorry and apologize.
Where do you stand reader? Are you a big mouth or big mind? We have to be careful about our utterances and understand that the greatest person is not the moneybags; neither is he the one with tangible and explicit physical features; he is actually the one who is measured in their communication. If our dear country will stand or fall, it will depend on what we say and write. This is the opportune time for our political leaders to heed the call of the masses by exposing, naming and shaming the big mouths among them. As we are growing our democracy, let us also grow our psyche. God bless Ghana!!
Source: Kingsley Nyarko, Psychologist, Accra ([email protected])