When I look at what is happening around me these days in America, I get deja vu feelings about my childhood. Sometimes it causes me extreme tummy upset and nausea and here is why! My mom and I lived in a compound house in a low middle-class neighborhood called Adabraka in Accra, Ghana! A compound house is where all the families have their individual rooms but share the same toilet and bathroom facilities! There was poverty all around us but my mother ensured I had the best of everything mostly from America! And as I wore those nice things it made me stand out like a sore thumb in the neighborhood! I was not the best soccer player but I always got to play because I was the one who owned the ball. Sometimes I would come home semi-naked or barefooted because I gave out my jersey or shoes to some of the neighborhood kids! My mom always got upset when I showed up home bare-chested or barefooted and threatened not to buy me any more stuff but she always did!
You can imagine how surprised I was to come home one day only to find my mom giving out her jewelry and expensive Holland wax prints! Well, there was a new military dictator who wanted to wipe out corruption and had decreed that if you had more than a certain amount of money in your bank accounts or more than a number of expensive wax prints, you would have to meet with a committee to explain how you got them! There were also local government committees called People Defense Committee that operated in the neighborhoods that went about seizing people’s personal properties, most of which they kept for themselves.
That period of time in the history of Ghana was characterized by brutality and violent clamp down on dissent. Press freedom was totally non-existent and we entered a phase in Ghanaian history called the “culture of silence.” This lasted for about 10 years till the World Bank and other world powers pushed for a return to civilian rule. So as I watch and listen to what goes on around me (by the way don’t believe the things you hear and see because they are not what is happening) I have mixed feeling about this whole scenario. The idea of living under a dictator brings some fond childhood memories to the fore! However, there are eerily similar things that come to mind which totally scare me!!
The idea of a cult-like personality! In my youth, our dictator was called “JJ, Junior Jesus.” Now some evangelicals claim His Imperial Majesty was sent from God and throng to his throne the way bees stick to beehives!
The second part is dissent is frowned upon! People that disagreed with Junior Jesus sometimes vanished or were beaten by his supporters! Here in America, no one has vanished yet, at least to my knowledge but any modicum of dissent from His Imperial Majesty is seen as “unpatriotic and unAmerican.”
The third is the attack on the integrity of the Free Press! In our dark times in Ghana the only newspapers you could read were government controlled and all you read was the dictator opening up new projects like public toilets that our taxes built! Nothing like that pertains here to date but the idea that the United States President will attack the Press is not something I thought I would ever see in my life! How is His Imperial Majesty going to warn say the government of Venezuela if they imprison journalists! Can the beacon of democracy, the one that the rest of the world looks up to, to promote democracy have the moral integrity to fight for press freedom elsewhere when it is attacking its press at home?
So those of you who support and admire a leader because “he is not a politician” humor me once more! Let’s do this!
When I am due for my colonoscopy instead of going to see a gastroenterologist or simply put a digestive tract specialist I will seek the expertise of a plumber to take out my polyps! I implore you as well to do same.
For my ladies; when you need a Pap smear seek the help of a chef who can use his Utensils and culinary expertise to take your sample and give it to George Clooney to read the slides! Oh, say you want boobs as big as Stormy Daniels to catch the attention of His Imperial Majesty? Go get yourself a masseuse who will massage your belly fat into your chest and fashion out a size 44DD boobs for you
When you get a appendicitis why call an ambulance to get you to a surgeon when you can use the local psychic!
Finally, it’s time to enjoy your much-earned vacation to Barbados! Use your Uber app to summon a driver to pilot your plane from your airport to paradise
Oh, do you need some spiritual guidance! Why go to a pastor when you can call Ron Jeremy!
Let’s say you desire some education for your kids. Of what use is a teacher when you can have a bodyguard for that job!
So let’s continue to put round pegs in square holes and enjoy the fun! We are all witnesses!
Till then enjoy!