By Nana Akwah
?Think of how it all started: America was founded by slave owners who informed us, “All men are created equal.” All “men,” except Indians, niggers (blacks), and women. Remember, the founders were a small group of unelected, white, male, land-holding slave owners who also, by the way, suggested their class be the only one allowed to vote. To my mind, that is what’s known as being stunningly–and embarrassingly–full of shit.?
Be not surprised if a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
I would put forward a historical perspective on this question. First, party remains the dominant force in both Parliament and the district legislatures because it has been integrated into the fabric of legislative organization through the committee system.
Picking up on the two-Parliamentary idea (representatives are both delegates of a number of constituencies and legislator colleagues in an institution where power is the prevalence); we seem to be in an era where the status within the institution is more important than serving the constituency.
Second, where policy was the focal point of party action in the past, the rise of media politics has weakened the relationship between policy and party during elections.
Candidate and party images are regarded by most candidates and consultants as more important than party positions on policy. In spite of that, even among voters who educate themselves on policy questions most do not choose candidates on the divisive issues like ethnocentrism and political ideology where parties define their differences.
Comparatively, voters do well-informed analysis of candidates on approaches to valence issues like the economy and security, where goals are shared (who wants a bad economy or more crime?) but the means of obtaining those goals differ.
I do not want to excuse the parties for their failures to recognize and convert societal preferences into policy. Part of this failure is surely the myopic self-serving nature of information scavenging in the social networks.
We are free to choose our sources of information and ignore those that disparage our views, and my experience with candidates and officeholders is that they are more selective than most of us in that behavior. They watch/listen/read the sources that support their positions and do not explore the range of opinion unless forced to.
Officeholders often seem to believe that their position is the favored position, and they are provided evidence to support that view by staff, consultants and party whips.
Apart from that, I also think the advent of the permanent campaign in the early 1990s altered the political landscape.
We can?t escape the truth, campaigns are inherently tribal, and the focus of parties becomes one of gaining and maintaining power to the exclusion of other goals, notably governance.
We have seen this over the last two decades in the country, and we have been treated to a seminal example in Parliament since the advent of the fourth republic.
Political power has its own nature and characteristics, like anything else; and it tends to gravitate most easily to those who view said power as an end in itself.
Government manage to survive almost purely as a concession to the current condition of human nature; and this is true both in terms of the psychopaths who want to rule, and the non-psychopaths who tend to want to be ruled.
Parties conceive their purpose as taking control of the government and keeping control, while policy and governance are tools to be used to achieve power. And for this reason who cares what the population thinks?
The only course or opening to change a political system is that, majority of the thinking citizens must unite, speak with one voice and stand firm like one leg.
Worthy of note and the reason why we are standing firm in our pursuit for a genuine change is to have a generation after now to salute us.
You cannot remain neutral in the face prevailing evil and injustices. Be reminded that ?Bad people? are voted by the good people who don’t vote.