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Booing Our Bums

One thing we Liberians have to learn is to “boo our bums when they play like bums.” This is a cue I took from a sport analyst on National Public Radio who said New York sports teams are successful because spectators don’t hesitate to boo even their super stars if they don’t apply much efforts in a game or just don’t want to play well. He ended by saying that other cities should take lessons from the New Yorkers to “boo their bums when they play like bums.”

Not going far back enough, you may have heard “we want Doe,” even if the singers did not want Doe; “you kill my pa...” from yester days and the many new songs of today including "Knuckles did nothing wrong." This tendency of always applauding even when the players go wrong may have many dimensions to it. First, for a New York spectator to able to boo a bum play, he or she must know the game. Second, that spectator must resolve to bury their own interests and call a spade a spade no matter what the consequence may be. From novices who just may not know and others who just want to "follow the leader" to many others who though learned and old enough but find it difficult to part from personal interests, Liberians have become accustomed to a high level of blind loyalty which continue to drive us far, far away from the truth and the light.

Let us face reality, our star players sometimes play like bums and I understand that they are humans. Like others, they have personal problems and weaknesses that sometimes interfere with their performances on the field play. But do we lower our expectations and set our standards so low so as to accommodate their frailties? Definitely not! If we do, they may see themselves as super beings, infallible and without blemish.

Quite recently, some of our government officials have not been playing so well. They have made costly mistakes, some deliberate, that have the propensity for a blow out by our opposing teams.Regrettably, either out of ignorance or as a tradition of blind loyalty some Liberians have continued to applaud. When Mr. Knuckles messed up (only God knows how long he has been doing that), some thought it was not that bad to warrant a dismissal or a day to face authorities for questioning. Instead, they took the anger on Mr. Edwin Snowe as the mastermind behind the circulation of the nude photograph. Instead of the Presidential Affairs Minister admitting his wrongdoing and seeking help for his deviant behavior, he blamed former Speaker Snowe who too has his own issues to deal with. More than that, an independent newspaper which carried the story got whacked by the police acting on government's orders. That is purely playing like a bum. Such act deserves a boo. Without having to have a time in court, as it should be in any civilized society, the newspaper’s license was revoked in a press conference called by the Minister of Information who in my view, after watching and admiring former Information Ministers Carlton Karpeh and Emmanuel Bowier for so long can’t just afford not to imitate their weaknesses.

The president too, waited and waited thinking that the Knuckles sex scandal was going to play out and die naturally. To her surprise, the PEOPLE, upon whose mandate her wish to power came true, cried out ceaselessly to have the minister dismissed or be forced to resign. What I thought was another poor performance was the president’s refusal to admit that she was bowing to pressure but claim as a victory for herself because of “high standards” she has set. It is the people who set those standards and voted for you, Madam President because they believed you can live up to those standards. I thought acknowledging that the people are holding the government’s feet to the fire was going to be a clear message that the government is committed to the wishes and aspirations of the PEOPLE in accordance with the rule of law. If the PEOPLE said the right thing, why not admit that you are listening to them? Just like former President Charles Taylor, who after two rebel groups and the United States pressured him to leave, refused to admit that he was bowing to pressure but claimed “I have decided...” Mr. Taylor held onto the “I” for almost three seconds to demonstrate his arrogance and belligerence. Madam Sirleaf has sounded the same way which I thought was another below standard performance that deserves a loud boo.

A way to move our country forward is to boo our bums when they play like bums. This will not only serve as a check on the people we vote to power but will send a clear message, that we the PEOPLE have had enough and that our lives must no longer be taken for granted.

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The issue referenced in the above can be found at http://www.frontpageafrica.com/newsmanager/anmviewer.asp?a=3461

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