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Opinions Sat, 13 Jun 2020

Ghana's next president: We the ignoramus decide

“I wasn’t qualified to vote […]. Nor were you, unless you have a PhD in economics or an expert in a relevant field such as history.” –Richard Dawkins

You may have noticed how the straight drying-line of your mind has metamorphosed into a nonchalant ‘M’. You may blame it on the so-called rational arguments of party foot soldiers doing the bidding of their masters to influence your emotions. We live in a liberal world, which thinks the Voter(s) knows best, just like your Marketing 101- the customer is always right. If you have the chance to see the ‘Fountain’ by Marcel Duchamp, you may conclude that “that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” indeed.

This piece might not necessarily be about liberalism, which like other words is abused because the concept it represents has been corrupted. This might be due to excessive sloganeering which easily transforms a once critical faculty to flight.

Ghana seems to be practising democracy. Thus Ghana-our fictional Mother believes, political authority stems from the feeling, choices and in a broader sense the free-will of the in-dividual voter. She has had quite a number of ‘peaceful’ elections and we are sure the ‘2028’ elections will be peaceful. Elections provide means through which patriotic Ghanaians express their feelings at the polls. Yes, ‘feelings’.

All forms of elections are about sampling the feelings of respective citizens. Thinking elections are about expressing your rationality might be a peaceful utopian sojourn. If elections are about making rational political or economic decisions, why would an illiterate electorate with no knowledge in political science, economics or international relations vote in an election? He/she only expresses his feelings about party X or Z at the polls. Forget about the various candidate's ctrl X, ctrl V manifestoes, whose nitty-gritty majority of the electorate don’t even understand.

Come to think of it, when it comes to rational decision making in any crucial matter, some in-dividuals are definitely far more knowledgeable than others particularly in economic or political problems. So why would citizens who lack the requisite knowledge in economics, history or political science be asked to vote in an election (say the recent referendum on the creation of the new regions?) The answer is not far-fetched, elections are not about what you think but rather how you feel or how you are made to feel, with the Peak-end theory as a classic catalyst. This is why in the upcoming elections; Professors with all their prowess each have one vote just as the fisherman in Tellatale who has no such knowledge. If this sampling of ‘feelings’ as done in elections, is based only on possessing certain requisite knowledge, some of ‘US’ can’t vote but ‘THEM’ can vote. But humbly this is not the case, because an election samples the feelings of both ‘US’ and ‘THEM’. Our elected leaders are equally not saints when it comes to the matter of feelings determining their actions.

You might be familiar with political leaders championing populist programmes or sharing goodies pre/post-election. This might be because candidate X knows very well that if he made you feel happy with a bag of rice or Quaker oats, it will definitely translate into votes for him/her. Thus candidates win elections mostly because they have been able to appeal to the ‘hackable’ feelings of the electorate-elite or illiterate. Don’t worry your claim of voting on issues might win you applause at a meeting of ‘100 concerned professors’

The cosmetic policies in the manifestoes are good and wonderful reference materials but how you were made to feel overshadows your acclaim and rational thinking prowess. Elections are more or less emotional puppets shows, create the expected emotional environment and bingo the rest will be ‘parte after parte’.

Your desserts, even though there might be nothing magical about feelings, humbly, feelings are the titre values that determine what Tendei studies, who Nsoh marries and which political party Praises votes for.
Columnist: Prosper Setsoafia