29 May DEMOCRACY IN REALITY
“Some African leaders and people love democracy but lack the deliberate and disciplined efforts to experience its realities” – RSD, 2018.
Abraham Lincoln, one of the most powerful and successful leaders that ever graced the earth made one of his most profound statements about democracy as he was concluding his November 19, 1863 Gettysburg address. He said “the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” According to Lincoln, that is the definition of true and real democracy not the government of some selected few wielding so much power to oppress and suppress others.
Lincoln’s greatest dream for the United States was the preservation of the American democracy, in fact this dream transformed and morph-sized into Lincoln’s greatest vision and mission statement as Commander in Chief of Union forces during the Civil War. He worked towards making the American democracy survive not just as a mere political rhetoric nor wish, but as a true democracy the people could believe in and preserve after he was gone. He was the 16th president of USA and one of history’s most outstanding men. His role in the emancipation of slaves and keeping the Union together can’t be forgotten. However, his most enduring legacies are the values he left behind.
Surprisingly, it is quite ironic and unfortunate that most African leaders and people love Lincoln’s philosophy on democracy but are not willing to imbibe the principles that will make it materialize. Misplacing our priorities and values on properties, political parties, personalities, ethnic groups and religious bigotries, won’t allow the power and essence of true democracy to find expression in our nations.
For Nigeria and most developing nations around the world to really enjoy the development that comes with true democracy, we must prioritize principles and policies that govern a nation above personalities and all vices that negates the development of nations. The United States comprises of people with different ethnicity and tribes, however the denominating factor of their growth is the agreement to abolish the disparities and differences and live in unity. Nigeria should not utilize her ethnic diversities that should be a blessing for division and retrogression; we have also said and heard many times that “our strength lies in our diversity”. We must value and extol relationship above religious differences and ensure that no one incites us to destroy or maltreat our fellow citizens.
We need to ensure that we support only people with character and competence to lead in various spheres of our nation.
These are some of Lincoln’s quotes that will help to reshape our mind in order to motivate us toward experiencing and enjoying real democracy.
“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.”
“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.”
“The best way to predict the future is to create it”.
“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”,
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”,
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”,
“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.” Abraham Lincoln.
I’m sure you have some interesting and amazing thoughts to share also on this subject matter. Please drop your comments below so that others can learn from your view point.