By Sunday Akin Olukoju
What used to be the center of civility is collapsing like a pack of cards. The people are not just dazed but are also left amazed. Fireworks of vile and nasty insults were violently employed to demonize fellow citizens.
One man was so crude and rude that he broke every rule around common decency! Name-calling took over what used to be a marketplace of ideas. It was apparent the man has no idea. He was clueless. He has only one dangerous instrument in his toolbox.
He started slowly by regurgitating the conspiracy theory over the age of a legitimate president he never liked. He knew he could use a race card. And he exploited it to the fullest. Many sane people attached little importance to the insane insinuation.
But the gullible, the eccentric, and the bitter in heart got something to hold on to, even if it was a mere straw for temporary respite. It exposed the danger of producing stark illiterates and half-baked educated illiterates.
It showed the nakedness of those who neither took the trouble to read beyond the lines nor travel outside of their comfort zones all their lives. In complete opposite to what Theodore Roosevelt Jr., the 26th president of the United States said that “the most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency”, what started initially as the mere rantings of a lunatic eventually grew – both in size and stature and became very deadly to the point of polluting the entire political atmosphere, and consequently forcing the polity to rot with a decay that stinks to high heavens.
Subsequently, insults stifled results.
Hatred turned the economic black book red. Divide and rule changed the rule of civility to that of crudity. Common sense took flight, leaving the entire landscape for stupid depravity to have a field day. Stone Age rolled in unceremoniously.
The 26th president of the same country will be reeling with sadness in his grave at the deepest level the moral barometer of the nation-state has sunk. It was supposed to be the world’s role model in everything modern.
But it has become anything but modern. It turned all the good works of old undone. It was supposed to be the world’s epitome of innovation. It has become the personification of stupidity.
A country once built on the idea of possibilities – of being able to get anything done has sadly become a geographical location for outlandish conspiracy theories that defy common sense. A place where the God of heaven takes charge has suddenly become the abode of demagogues and the altar of idolatry.
And so, there is an urgency to sanitize the morally polluted system. The devil has taken over. The audacity to lie consistently has eaten deep into the body politic. Unfortunately, those who are supposed to know better are no longer faring any better.
They cut the nose to spite the face. The mortgaged ephemeral benefit for a life-long legacy. They forget their history of great accomplishments and settled for self-destruction at the behest of a self-delusional con man.
They prefer to do anything to win an election but very eager and willing to lose the country. The insanity in the land is so bad that one man is willing and ready to set the entire family house on fire if it will guarantee his inordinate ambition to snatch the family land where the house once stood.
And gradually, this one man’s insanity infiltrates everywhere. The art of lying has become the new and innovative patented product of a new high-tech manufacturing company that generates no profits to anyone except the con man.
Only few people retain their sanity. But where should one start from – is it from some lawmakers who have become lawbreakers? Is it the right-wing media that would like to make the world believe that yesterday was tomorrow or that last year never existed? Where is the world heading to?
This confusion had earlier forced the brilliant American first lady, Michelle Obama, to talk about dignity and decency, and that when the conspiracy theorists go low, the decent must go high – high in terms of the bar of decency and dignity one works and walks with in everyday activities.
Michelle Obama is simply warning the listening world to desist from the rash and brash ways of one man who is bent on destroying the people’s belief in democracy, ably assisted by clueless idiots egging him on. Within few years in what used to be the center of civility, nasty language is no longer a nasty idea to nasty people.
No wonder, Ana Navarro, a political commentator and critic submits that “There is a minimum requirement of morality, of moral compass, of decency, of moral empathy. And if you are incapable of meeting that minimum requirement, you can’t even talk to me about policy.”
Straight talk! Wherever and whenever decency takes flight, people are bound to fight. When decency evaporates from a family, a business, a government office, a political party, or even between friends, depravity settles in. Anytime decency leaves the room, obscenity takes the head chair. Whenever decency is thrown out of the window, immorality walks in majestically through the door.
Chain decency, and shamelessness gets out of bounds. Lock up decency, and abomination abound in the nation. Banish decency, and welcome with open arms a reign of lawlessness.
Turn your back on decency, and simply embrace corruption, mendaciousness, fraudulence, cheating, abuse, wickedness, exploitation, injustice, and crookedness.
Hell has been let loose. The devil is now on rampage. The monster has taken over the land. It is time to strike the head of the serpent before it bites the heel of mankind.
Why do certain people assault decency? Simple – it is the easiest vehicle to use to cause confusion, change the moral rules of engagement, and install outright lawlessness and promote the highest level of impropriety.
It creates an atmosphere of immodesty under whose rule the highest level of immorality can be practiced with few or no one noticing. You assault decency to create enmity. You assault decency to create a wedge between neighbors.
You assault decency to remove the bullet-proof protection shielding the vulnerable. You assault decency to carry out the maximum assault on decorum, dignity, and democracy, with limited or muted anger, shock, awe, and wonder by those who should, under normal circumstances, be enraged.
Deliberate assault on decency is to mute the psyche of concerned people from reacting to what is completely condemnable by all reasonable human beings. A repeated assault on decency is a pathway to a deadly assault on democracy, justice, equity, and fair play. It is a dress rehearsal for despotism.
It is a test-run for the annihilation of democratic institutions. It is the beginning of the end for whatever sounds or smells like civility, courtesy, decorum, dignity, or good manners. Assault on decency is another name for caging the pursuit of honesty, modesty, propriety, righteousness, virtue, and appropriateness. Can the world afford to toy with this reckless madness?
Thankfully, a new man is in the saddle in what used to be the center of civility. A humble man who cherishes decency is responding quickly to the urgency.
Branded harshly, and completely demonized with outrageous and outlandish lies, this new leader remained focused on the goal – slowly but gradually rebuilding the moral fabric. He is aware that decency is the bedrock of any civilization, hence his deliberate attempt to promote respect, reverence, appreciation, deference, and honor by, between, within, and among those in government and the governed.
A good man has taken over the saddle and has come to stop all assaults and insults. He has come to promote dignity that will build unity. He has come to shut down the season of lies and travesty and in their place, he is gradually but steadily installing a new season of honesty, truth, decency, dignity, respect, and fair play.
A new season of decency has dawned and is now ushering in a joyful season of morality, civility, and dignity. With the new man in control, the urgency for decency has now metamorphosed into a recency of leniency, buoyancy, and sufficiency. It calls for special celebration while the world stands on guard against any manipulation!
(❚ Dr. Sunday Akin Olukoju is the Director of Distance Education of Providence Theological Seminary, a community newspaper correspondent, and the president of a community organization)