“While the leadership realizes our problem, lack of fair allocation of resources, it fails the crucial understanding that the solution lies not in coming up with a fair resource allocation formula but rather in creating sustenance of resources and creating more wealth. And the truth is that governments don’t create wealth, they spend wealth. It is entirely the role of the people to create that wealth.”
On January 20, 1961, when being sworn in Washington DC, John F Kennedy made a great speech. The speech was largely a pronouncement of resolves and a persuasion of the world to forge a single front in pursuit of peace. It had great reference to the Bible; he reminded the world of America’s commitment to democracy.
Much of this is rarely as prominent though as his punch line statement: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. A persuasion to the American citizens that the greatest responsibility of living the dream laid on them, the greatest responsibility to preserve rights and retain their nation’s pride lay on them.
John F. Kennedy is long gone, having been killed by a bullet. Ages on, what his statement hinted might prove to be pivot of American politics as election 2012 nears.
The American election has unfolded in a rather unexpected manner. The Democratic Party had its candidate determined in President Obama and the Republican primaries lacked any stiff competition. When the primaries began, I placed my bet on Rick Perry. The Texas governor looked the only presidential of the contestants.
The GOP candidates had varied strengths, if there was a way they could fuse individual strengths into one person. In the end, it is Mitt Romney who carried the day or rather Mitt’s money gave him the victory.
Upon becoming the presumptive nominee, I started giving Mitt a greater attention. I must first refer to the great occurrences. When Rick Perry started showing signs of wearing off, I shifted my allegiance to the second Rick, Santorum. And when Santorum won Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado caucuses, I believed a battle for a worth American election.
Many in my mother country would condemn me for wishing a stronger competition to our ‘son’. I actually thought Obama has been a great American President. In the last four years I think America’s “Uncle Sam” status has diminished save for its support of rebels to ouster Muamar Gadhaffi. I believe the other dictators deserved ouster.
But in America with the National debt rising, unemployment persistently high, an un-bulging Republican Congress, I felt the odds were stacked against him and I could not help that if he were to loose, he should then loose to a worth candidate.
All my bets were wrong because Republican primaries betrayed what democracy should be about. I honestly think the Republican primaries were taken by the highest bidder, but clearly the wrong bidder.
That is why; save for any other reason, Americans should not elect Romney to preserve the dignity of their country. Mitt’s election should be Nelly. Indisputably, America is a super power and occupies a position on the globe that calls for its leaders to go beyond Mitts gaffing standards.
A major gaffing escapade was revealed this week when a video tape of Romney in a private fund raiser showed Romney saying 47% of Americans, or rather poor Americans would vote Barack whatever effort he tried. These, to Romney, are a people who believe the government should do everything for them, who feel entitled to services, people unwilling to take charge of their own destinies and would rather vote for Obama who is a Marxists at heart and believes in “redistribution”.
This is a theory that has followed Obama since Democratic primaries and the Romney Campaign released a video tape of the President in 1998 talking of redistribution: (firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/19/13971913-in-rest-of-98-clip-obama-speaks-of-competition-and-the-marketplace)
Listening to both Democrats and Republicans their view of what the government’s role in individual life is quite a mixture. When it comes to matters of personal choice, the republicans take a conservative view, almost a holly one. They are cautious with allowing abortion, gay rights and marriages and what have you. Democrats are liberal clearly stating the government cannot tell people who to love and who to marry, that a government should not determine the health choices of a woman.
As regards economic well being, The Democrats take a moderate view, that in a way everyone has to be supported. That a nation must pull everyone up or sometimes shove everyone up. That everyone has a right to health care and that the government should facilitate that access. The president’s pet project; Obamacare regulates how much insurance companies should use as profits, tells the insurance companies to cover everyone; concepts that might not relate strictly to an economy that was built on “free enterprise”.
As I sift through these thought processes a caption of a nude man in an Eldoret bar captures my mind. He alleges that he lost Ksh. 10,000 and therefore has undressed to make sure the government knows and intervenes. In his words: “ili serikali ijue nini kimefanyika iingilie kati”
This caption “serikali iingilie kati” is the standard invocation by the public in Kenya whenever the government ought to intervene in a situation. We ask the government to intervene in many scenarios, from managing striking civil servants, spousal beatings, fire tragedies, resettlement of internally displaced persons to the quelling of violence in the Tana delta.
While most of these calls are legitimate, the notion that the government is the ultimate provider of all opportunities serves to create a deficiency of effort. In Kenya, government provisions has and remains largely pegged on political good will since government is controlled by politicians. In turn, the impressionisms created by knowledge that government should facilitate everything serve to create the unimaginable investment of hope in politics.
That is the disappointment America has suffered, that is the curse Kenya continues to live. The emotions that run high in electioneering seasons, regional balkanizations and political support on ethnic basis can always be tagged to the resource question.
The only time when there is a hope of a united republic in Kenya is when opportunity for obtaining empowerment through collective bargaining arises. When teachers strike the solidarity anthem rings from the ridges of Kangema to Nyando. No one looks at the other as an andu a nyumba or ja’ Nyandos. When Mps want pay increment party loyalties vaporize and they unite in a vote.
I believe as a society, Kenya is keen on opportunities. A chance of unity therefore lies in our ability to define an agreeable philosophy around chance and opportunity. Can this be realized by trusting our leadership, I doubt that. The leadership has continually failed the test and worse still continues to mislead us.
While the leadership realizes our problem, lack of fair allocation of resources, it fails the crucial understanding that the solution lies not in coming up with a fair resource allocation formula but rather in creating sustenance of resources and creating more wealth. And the truth is that governments don’t create wealth, they spend wealth. It is entirely the role of the people to create that wealth.
So, I look with restrained optimism as we move towards devolution. As presidential aspirants crisscross the country, they are largely implanting a false hope that the “famed national cake” will ultimately be shared after the next election. No one is able to look into our eyes and Kennedy us. No leader is telling us, even in the Moi crudeness that devolution: “haitaleta sufuria ya ugali kwa nyumba yako”
I am not entirely surprised though; the falsity in our current politics is that governments hold the hope of our brighter future and that government is secured through politics. So when the electorates see a politician they see the only possibility of a future. But that is a falsity. I wish we could be honest and say in the end, it will be us, not the state that will create our dream.