Monday, March 17, 2014

Corruption Done Right

Educated Ghanaians are mostly elitist. Accepting and understanding this can open up the conversation for reforming our culturally corrupt system in a more effective manner. Those who have worked their way to better education and awareness usually have a dismissive disposition towards the general uneducated masses. That elitism exists, surprisingly, even in other educated circles based on what institution one studied at. I am not here to proclaim some sort of idealist view on why we are all equal and beyond. God knows I'm just as guilty of this accusation I'm leveling here. I just honestly believe that we invest our elitism in the wrong endeavors. It is far more costly for the uneducated masses to remain ignorant and impoverished than it will be for these elites to invest their time, energy and resources to increase literacy and awareness among the populace! I am here to discuss corruption or rather drown you in my opinionated ideas of how we can change things for the better. Corruption exists everywhere, the key is to control and manage it's effect with a neutral function that is independent of human control.

 We understand and embrace corruption at a very early age. We know for certain that when we are of driving age, our driver's licenses will be served to our homes conveniently without taking one driving test(road test or written exam) administered by a public official. Mine was handed to me by the roadside somewhere in Dansoman on an uneventful weekday afternoon. Paper for paper. You have money, you can buy a Drivers License, simply put. I was 16 maybe--(The first document that validates our arrival into adulthood is usually acquired through corrupt means-- a warped stamping of what life is or will be-- corrupt!). Every discussion I have with the most educated, most religious, most pious and most passionate Ghanaians about corruption has ended in this one bottom line; "man for chop cha". I disagree but I seem to be one of only three people I know who I can pricked-finger-vouch for their incorruptible character as it relates to embezzlement in public or private office. Bless her & grandpops. The problem here is much bigger than the three of us, so my solution is for us to bend corruption in the direction of the greater good.

Corruption exists everywhere in the Western World-- our default yardstick for measuring all that is corrupt and broken in our system.. The only difference is, the basics of a functioning society are not attached to the meanderings of petty corruption. I cannot get way with bribing a police officer for pulling me over for a broken tail light. The cost of the penalty is probably $100 or less.. If I offered a corrupt cop $100 to overlook the broken tail light, he'll most likely lock me up immediately. The risk is not worth it for both parties - 1. I could be setting him up to lose his job along with all the benefits it affords him OR contrarily  2. He can immediately jail me for attempted bribery of a police officer. He is not a saint and neither am I the pinnacle of law abiding morals but we both refrain and obey the law because the system works. We both(cop & I) have to risk too much just to break "petty laws" which however, manage and maintain public road safety-- an extremely important issue. We respect the consequences of the law. This is the neutral function I speak of. The risk involved has neutralized the possibility of corruption in this instance.

If I ran through a traffic light in Ghana, the repercussions are solvable in the unlikelihood that I was apprehended for it. The depth of my pocket provides instant resolution for my "oversight". The underpaid policeman will take what he can get in exchange for my lack of regard for the traffic rules, other drivers and the lives of pedestrians be damned. 20Ghc buys me Above The Law status instantly. This carries on through every public institution all the way up to the President. A Ghanaian president and his subordinates will negotiate a deplorable deal like what was done in the case of the oil refinery project and can confidently know that there will be zero blowback from selling out the countries resources at such a costly low value. Him and his boys can now tour Dubai more often with their Legon girlfriends and spend exponentially more on shopping than an average citizen needs to purchase some critical stationery items for school-- books and pencils. This is real and we all know of these things. We nonchalantly accept it as part of who we are. I detest it even if it is my own flesh and blood engaging in this type of behavior, I will call them out.

Two weekends ago I was humbled to be in pretty great company. We were celebrating a friends impending fatherhood status. Someone I truly admire, his convictions and character are way above reproach, at least by my standards. Everyone at the table was highly educated-- the formal kind ie except me. Some even graduated from Ivy League colleges. The discussions encompassed a wide range of subjects; from things plaguing Ghana and how the simple solutions have not been implemented. I'm usually excessively talkative and a bit more personal than our culture approves of. I will tell you a story that involves a decision one of my parents made that I find deplorable without hesitation. I only do this for the sake of truth and improvement. I love my parents beyond belief, I just don't agree with their business decisions and some of their moral ones. Love to me is not agreeing with someone's bad decisions. Anyway, the point is I can usually feel peoples' cringes roasting my arm hairs when  I'm that candid and launch into my diatribe about all the things that are fixable and using these very personal familial incidents to paint a picture of why we are struggling as a people. We discussed the falling Cedi, the bad oil deal we took, why we don't have clean drinking water for all our people in 2014, lamented the lack of social welfare, why sewage is still a huge problem and why all our major developments, however unnecessary, are centered in the over saturated Accra. We even got into why Mahama, won over Akuffo-Addo-- Mr. Paradigm as I teasingly call him is the epitome of the elitism I'm talking about in the first paragraph. and circled around the myriad of issues that engulf how we campaign and communicate to the masses.  We momentarily paused to acknowledge that our issues seem overwhelming and daunting.

Why there seems to be a church every ten feet in our communities and why a pastor is commanding currencies to rise and fall when he is absolutely educated enough to know that this is a sin of Luciferian proportions. The economists among us refrained from using too much economic jargon and lingo to explain the real cause of the falling Cedi and the unstable nature of our currency. I had to interject my no-degree holding common sense for a minute. I get tired of these made up complexities of economics that are essentially hypotheticals conjured by bored brains who wanted to create derivatives of the most basic concepts of the existing economic conditions. One of the reasons Ghana's Cedi is currently back in a seemingly bottomless spiral to shit town besides whatever antics the US Treasury is pulling with interest rates is-- we never took the time to fix the most fundamental problem in the first place. When President Kuffuour's administration was happily touting re-denomination as some sort of elixir for the ailing Cedi to the masses, I was barely in my mid 20's with zero experience in managing a country's economic and financial issues but knew the fix they prescribed was a case of pouring dried lava into a plastic garbage bag and leaving it out in 699 degree weather endlessly... A disaster waiting to melt and destroy other valuables in its path. Sometimes, the ability to think critically is lost when one absorbs too much formal education. Problem solving is not entirely in a textbook. Common sense and basic understanding of monetary policy, what bolsters a currency's value and prevents inflation are simple concepts that should not be masked in complex silly jargon but I'm way off on a tangent so I'll stop here. The most heartbreaking statement of the night was when at least 50% of the gathering agreed to this line of reasoning by one of the educated elites; "people are reluctant to be activists for the cause because they don't feel like Ghana did anything for them!".. WOW.

Back to the subject of corruption. Man for chop-- Not a bad idea at all because I believe in the idea of profiting from ones labor, whatever that labor is. So if we are going to be governed by this idea, can we at least make sure that, in our search for profit, we don't neglect our accountability to the Nation. It should hurt your pride that you took a contract to supply school kids with 80 Computers at an inflated cost of $250,000 and you still managed to supply only 15 refurbished China-brand computers and spent the rest on a car and fucking young girls. Since we can't count on your sense of pride to do the right thing for the poor kids who desperately need to know what the use of a computer is in 2014, the more appropriate approach is to have checks and balances-- accountability -- enforceable and punishable by law. An entity that consists of well paid public appointed personnel who have no party affiliations to keep the contractor honest. As a personal principle, I refuse to simply participate in decadent cronyism. If my brother is making a shirt for me, I hold him to the same standards as I do Ralph Lauren in terms of the quality of finish. I won't accept mediocrity just because we are blood or friends. I will gladly give my brother my business over the outsider who is just as good as him though, his only edge now being he is my brother and is just as good. I'm losing the plot but my hope is that, our generation learns to hold each other more accountable for our work. If your friend starts a restaurant, patronize it instead of asking for free stuff and discounts. However, if the food sucks, don't just sit there and keep patronizing the garbage without telling them your review of their shitty service and food. If they fail to improve, take your business elsewhere. In the larger context of culture and governance, those of you that secure political power in the future and now, I beg you to heed some of these virtues. Start holding your cronies to higher standards. They cannot leave a road project incomplete and then claim an assorted number of unverifiable reasons as to why without being reprimanded or held accountable. Let your friends and cronies know you will look out but if they fuck up, they'll have to deal with the law and the entity in charge of transparency and accountability that keeps oversight of all governmental contracts. In our efforts to help each other succeed, let us not neglect responsibility. Ghana has done a lot for us, to answer my friend from the previous paragraph. The education you received(which is superior in a lot of theoretical learning ways by the way)  was government subsidized for your entire life until you left Ghana to live in the USA or wherever in the West you landed. The teachers that taught you were underpaid heavily because the true cost of your education was unaffordable to your parents. Ghana gives you your identity, even if you naturalize as American or a Westerner of whatever variety, your history is forever tied to Ghana.

Did your parents pay their taxes in full or at all? Did they burn or wrongfully dispose of trash without being fined for it? Did you use the roads as a means to go to and fro? Did you piss on the ground with no repercussions? How many times did you bribe your way out of trouble with a police officer and get away with a crime, misdemeanor or not?! Did you apply for a Ghanaian passport to be able to travel outside of its shores? If you couldn't simply claim to be Ghanaian, you'd have no validation of a Nationality. Next time you are feeling so callous about the privilege of being Ghanaian, toss it away and tell any concerned party/entity to discount your citizenship and consider you a citizen of the world! Just try it, see how well it goes over with the officer waiting to arrest you for fraud and traveling without identification. The fuck do you mean what has Ghana done for you? You owe it more than it does you and for all your brilliance at excelling in Academia, you ain't shit without an identity. You love the West because the system works-- it is so because good people sacrificed, those who knew better pulled the less educated along and they still are. People sacrificed their lives so you can claim your right to be paid a fair wage, given adequate housing, access to constant clean drinking water, electricity as an afterthought because it is always on unless there is a natural disaster and even then there is emergency response required to save your sorry non-American ass. People sacrificed so that the rule of law governed and protected the citizens, by and large. You have rights and access to information, the right to question the government and how they are managing the Nation's resources. There might be a deadlock or Government shutdown but gatdamnit you'll get your retroactive pay when they resume. While they are shut down, police officers are still working, traffic lights still blinking, courthouses still collecting fines for traffic violations, schools are still open, hospitals still can't refuse emergency care, student loans are still distributed, food stamps flapping in the ghettos, water still flowing, electricity still on even if you haven't paid your bills and it is cold in the winter or hot in the summer and everything essential to the normalcy of everyday life for the majority of the country still functions properly. You get to file a tax return every year and make amends or get a refund because someone insisted that it was your right as a law-abiding citizen, not ask questions like why should I fight for other Americans when the country has never done jack crap for me. People fought because they believed in the idea of a better standard of living for all humans, the bare necessities that is.That when it is hot outside beyond humane conditions, you ride the bus for free and people hand out free bottles of water, that there is a shelter for the homeless, that the less financially fortunate families can still have decent housing, that a hospital can not turn you away in case of emergency because it is against the law! Americans/Westerners sacrificed so these things became the law of their land-- not by wondering what America or their  various countries had done for them but by believing that it is the right thing to do! What has Ghana done for you? You need perspective and I doubt if I can impart enough of it in this blogpost! Wake the fuck up onua-(friend), you owe your country and it doesn't owe you one ananse shilling or kobo! Fuck it, I'm tired of thinking and writing, TBC....

  • Dogs do not actually prefer bones to meat; it is just that no one ever gives them meat. ~ Akan Proverb

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Liberal Conservatism, there is such a thing. I am one of its adherents.

Political correctness, is killing common sense slowly, in my opinion. It is also simultaneously infringing on one groups rights in certain instances while attempting to appease another. Have we all become so sensitive? Our language is undergoing a pleasant-always-engineering that makes me cringe. Its a freaking Christmas tree and if you don't like it don't say it or look at one, damn it! I was alarmed when I found myself agreeing with Bill O'reilly on this topic, it was sacrilege to all things intellectual.

I disagree that Christians have to change their traditions to appease non-Christians. That will be the equivalent of asking Jewish people to rename  Bar Mitvahs in order to be sensitive towards Nazis or anyone else. The attrition of the Christian faith by certain progressives is making it an endangered faith, one that many, including myself are shamelessly committed to. As a strong critic of religious fanaticism, I am by no means championing the enforcement of any religious act on the public. However, the foundations of this civilization is largely conjoined with Christian and other religious traditions. I don't think it is fair to alter these traditions with a simplified argument of inclusiveness when the very vehicle of it is one of exclusivity. The intent of political correctness is to remove hatred or offensiveness in the public sphere with the goal of being fair to humans of every creed. It is a noble agenda, however, its purpose is now lost in the convolution of what is sugar-coated rather than what is fair.

It is not fair to broad-brush paint all Muslims as terrorists just as it is flat out wrong to consider all Christians as unintelligent fanatics who don't believe in science. Granted, stereotypes have roots in truth, however, we must distinguish behavior associated with a people from the people themselves. We cannot fairly understand our fellow human beings without eliminating the existing assumptions we've made about said people. It is also a disservice to the existence of soluble dialogue that will engineer the harmonious co-existence of diversity in humans that we all hope for. In my opinion, the fairest way to understand a people is through a thorough investigation of the real causes of the issues they face-- why they are who they are and why they hold the beliefs they do with unabashed integrity through conversation.

Discourse is a necessary part of our societal structure. We can have the debate but precluding any real tangible criticism of the the subject under discussion pre-discussion makes some of the real true thoughts of those "ignorant" about the details of the subject remain un-addressed. Take the subject of homosexuality for instance. Talking to persons who hold PhD's and other revered tertiary degrees makes me wonder when we all got so sensitive and judgmental or uppity? I can't ask a question, a legitimate one at that, without being labeled "homophobic or unintelligent". For the record, I have no fear of homosexuals or their sexual preferences. I simply do not think the notion that sexual preference is genetic is more accurate than not, generally. This thought process is based on scientific evidence and I'm yet to be shown any real plausible and credible data that contradicts my current opinion.

The norms of sexuality have been defined as such through years of consistency in human, animal and natural behavior. A deviation from the norm is not inherently sinful or bad, unless your definition is based on religious morality but the facts of science regarding the function of anatomic parts can not be disputed. This is what I'm implying without being facetious; there are very natural inalienable functions of certain body parts that assist with its scientific definition. The leg is primarily designed for mobility. As the ear is for hearing, eyes for seeing and tearing, mouth for speech and food and so on. Just because you can pour water into your ears doesn't suddenly re-define it's function as an organ for the consumption of food and drinks. My basic argument is that, homosexuality is a deviation from the natural order of the human sexual disposition. You can put your penis wherever you choose to but it is scientifically irrefutable that it's designated destination in the natural function of sex is the vagina. Just as you can insert anything into the vagina. Any other destination or tool does not prevent it from performing the same function or receiving similar sensations to when it penetrates a vagina. Any heterosexual person, if blindfolded and caressed by any pair of hands, male or female, their body would respond to the external sexual stimuli-- male or female. Does this re-define the function of a penis and a vagina suddenly? No it does not and therefore, I still stand by the fact that, homosexuality is not genetic but usually a choice.

This however, does not give other humans the right to vilify or abuse homosexuals for their lifestyle choice. In the public arena, the law has to protect all, especially those in the minority in order to sustain a fair society. Those laws that make a sexual choice illegal are a waste of human resources in my opinion because to a large extent, sexual preference has no real effect or bearing on the social, economic and political well-being of any society.

That said, there are certain rules that should not be compromised for the sake of political correctness. An example being this recent Politically Correct push to allow the youth, especially students to identify with a gender that they've defined for themselves and impose on others. If a child is born male and identifies as female, it does not translate to him being allowed to use the females bathroom because he identifies as one. Or walk around campus in high heels and be a source of distraction to other students whose main purpose for being on the campus is to acquire an education, not debate a fellow students style choices or conduct. When you go to school, obey the basic rules of conduct or get tutored at home. What we are teaching is that, any form of rebellion is a noble cause. As an adult, fighting for the rights of gays to be included in the power and economic structure without prejudice is simply common sense since it is obvious that no one's sexuality affects their ability to perform a job. Unless we are referencing a Religious institution. If the religion exclusively states that their moral codes aren't negotiable, the institution should not be forced to change its beliefs to suit an opposing group of people. Why would you even want to force yourself to be a part of any institution  that condemns your lifestyle anyway? That is my personal opinion but as a matter of broader policy, the separation of Church and State shouldn't and can't be a one-way street. Just as we strongly advocate that all Religious activity be kept out of governance, it should hold true for religious institutions by not imposing secular ideology on any religion.

The debates about social issues in the modern world is currently at it's peak, in the sense that progressives are pushing for major change that will serve as the impetus for future laws to be predicated on. Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, conservatives are pushing to maintain the status quo. From Russia to Uganda, governments are finding the need to actually ban homosexuality as an important societal issue. I'd think there are more pressing issues facing the populace than who they are fucking but let me not be judgmental, just a few years back, I could not tolerate any conversation about gays wanting their rights sculpted into the law of the land. What I believe now is, their choices need the protection of the law because it inadvertently is their right to not be persecuted in a land where they live and pay taxes etc.

Since I got called nigger ever so casually by my deranged old white lady neighbor this weekend, after she egged my car by the way, I want to address the racial slur. I am a little alarmed by the sudden surge in certain journalists' argument to make it fair for all(white people) to use the word nigga/nigger because rappers are using it in their music. Are we now that fucking stupid and oblivious to common sense? If I insult my father to you because he upset me, as my friend, that gives you no authority or permission to ever in your shameful unaccomplished life repeat the gesture when you encounter him. There is a difference between nigga and nigger by the way so for those who even have to be given an explanation for the difference, just don't use it. I thought this was basic human etiquette? Maybe I'm just ancient. I personally could care less about the word "nigga" or "nigger" and it's implication because I've never identified with the horrid meanings of it. More tellingly is that, a person of any race calling me nigger is as trivial to me as being called stupid or ugly. That is their opinion and they are entitled to it. I just think the less sensitive we are to words of that nature, the faster it loses it's power and effect.

We can not be the same PC public that preaches about "use your words" and then be sensitive when people take heed by using their words instead of fists or violence, regardless of how derogatory it may be. We should as a society teach people to not be so sensitive to what is said as opposed to what is done. Deeds are more damaging if they are the harmful kind. Like the stupid stand-your-ground laws that seem to find young black boys at the mercy of insecure white guys who feel threatened by the presence of a black male, no matter how young or harmless they may seem. Tea and Skittles. I'm needing to find a way to package and sell common sense which will be my fortune; get me out of this one bedroom apartment into a more appealing space where I can have countless bitches twerking to my dancehall tunes from the deep undeveloped branch-hanging monkeyland somewhere in Africa that I came from! How is that for a fucking politically incorrect goal? Peace.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Hey, you look nice.. You are shy on the phone and you seem to be more engaged with the dinner plate at the moment than me but that is okay. I'm glad we came to a place that you actually enjoy the food. You said you were into food, you weren't lying huh?

So I showed up in your texts and here we are! Or did you show up in my texts? Okay, even if  I did, your cupcakes hint was an offering to the hungry and dying?--LOL. Well then, I felt special so thanks. :).

*Smiley faces, giggles and makes eye contact* *Damn she fine*

Well, I'm a pretty straight shooter.. I don't find fun in games any more and so I'll ask you this; what are you tryna do? 'Cos I just want someone to hang with and talk shit with on the regular, laugh and be real with. I know it might be kinda early and all but you should let a dude like me change your habit of not wanting to call and chat on the phone much.. I like where you live, we should go for walks sometimes, maybe you can work me out :) .. I mean work out with me.. lol. Fuck it, you ready? Ight let's get you home, I plan to pick you up a few more occasions so let's not drain out the excitement on our first date..

*Still smiley faces after all of her phrases, she barely says much but I see the twinkle in her eyes*

Ok hon, I had a great time and ........... *OMG we are sucking face like Indiana Jones searching for treasures behind our tooth cavities* -- *Okay, gross but it was the the first indicator that shawty was a keeper*  *She knows what she wants and goes for it*

So, I'd cut to the chase. I think you are tall so can you wear flats often? LOL, really I don't mind cos with your shoes off I'm taller anyway.. *side-eye*... I like you, I don't need to figure you out, would you be my girlfriend?

*This is how it should have played out,.... 20/20....