As we approach the forthcoming general election in Kenya, there are so many raw emotions on each and every platform on social media. And I’ve always insisted that that is a good thing because politics is a battle of ideas and a healthy debate is essential in a democracy.
The only thing that irks me is the lack of objectivity. I follow very many people who are either 100% opposed to this administration or 100% supportive. Sadly, only a countable from either side are credible because they refuse to be objective.
It reminds me of a quote by one of my favorite commentators on CNN, Van Jones, “If you can’t make an honest argument, just don’t make the argument.”
The hypocrisy in our political debates is mind-boggling. It’s no longer factual, it’s based on emotions.
Some people feel like they have a special democratic right to openly support the candidate of their choice but that same right should not be extended to others.
Whereas it’s true that tribalism is prevalent in this country and all of us have more work to do, believe you me victimizing others by bringing in the “O & A” factor in debates or dismissing others who do not share your political views with the famous “your name betrays you” line is not one of the solutions.
I understand the anger and sometimes frustrations when one sees some opinions. I’ve been there. But one thing I’ve come to realize is that we all want to be heard. As Oprah Winfrey says, it’s the common denominator that we all share. The same wish you have for others to listen and understand your point of view is the same wish shared by others.
Each one of us has a right to their own opinion however stupid it seems. And the best way to handle such people who you bitterly disagree with is to respectfully engage them. Insulting someone because of a differing opinion is self-defeating and it only makes common ground and compromise impossible.
Without a willingness to listen to the other side, admit new information when it pops up or sometimes concede that the other side is actually making a fair point when it happens, we will forever keep talking past each other.
Surely, it cannot be that everyone who shares our political views is enlightened and everyone who doesn’t is foolish or has been paid.
This kind of intolerance is the reason why many find politics so dispiriting and so many people of good character hesitate to step into the political arena.
For instance, watch the fuss created over Caroline Mutoko and Julie Gichuru declaring their support for Jubilee. It’s pure hysteria.
If like me, you religiously follow James Smart’s and Dennis Onsarigo’s Pro-Nasa tweets but all of a sudden you have a problem with Ms. Mutoko and Mrs. Gichuru declaring their support for Jubilee, forgetting that the latter are actually no longer media house employees, you need to do a serious soul searching.
And if we were to be honest, why all the fuss? We watched Hillary Clinton being endorsed by her celebrity mates like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Katy Perry e.t.c yet we all know how the story ended.
That’s the beauty of it all. We all have our own minds or non at all. We each have just ONE vote. It’s called a DEMOCRACY. Make sure you use yours to make your point and before then, please be humble and more accommodating when engaging with people with differing political lest 8th August humbles you.