Force doesn’t work for long

In politics, seduction is the way most candidates for public office generally treat us voters. They give us sweet talk to keep us happy and believing in them till the day after the election. That is good enough for their purposes. By then they have got what they want – power - and we shouldn't expect any more sweet talk or plausible promises until the next election campaign. That may not be moral, but it works a lot better than rape, beating and torture.

If the man keeps the promises he makes to a woman, that might be real love, which works even better. And wouldn't the world be a lot better if we had a few more politicians who treated us that way? There have been some in the course of history, but they suffer an unfortunate tendency to get assassinated. Look at Abraham Lincoln, Patrice Lumumba, Robert Kennedy, and even Che Guevara, who said “The true revolutionary is driven by the greatest sentiment of love”.

Some of those still had enemies and fought wars, but they picked their enemies rather carefully. The enemy was someone who was doing something harmful to many people and had shown he couldn't be persuaded any other way. They didn't use violence on the people whose support they needed. They knew that if you have to force someone to obey you, you have failed to persuade him or her to agree with you. They remembered that “whoever is not against you is for you”.

Some of our own freedom fighters did try to create a “broad front” against Ian Smith. They persuaded as many people as possible that Smith was such a threat to us all that we had to unite against him. Other differences could wait till we had achieved independence and democracy. Then we could decide democratically, for example, whether we wanted to be socialists or not, without fighting.

Unfortunately the movement was hijacked by a leadership that only knew how to force everyone to submit totally to them. So we got independence but not democracy and, as for socialism – did they know what it meant?

Their methods might succeed for a while, but they lead to the dead end we are in now.

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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