I first wrote this on December 22, 2015.
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”
– Benjamin Franklin.
My father shaped my thinking in many ways. There is this experience I often share.
We had a family fund. When we were young, my late father and mother were always signatories to the account.
I challenged this (I was in sixth form in Presec, Legon, then and hardly made any contribution to the account, except when somebody – a family friend or relative – gave me money as a gift). I wanted us to vote for the signatories (my father loved this – he taught us how to challenge authority without fear). There was no way many of my friends could have done what I did in their homes. It was a ‘taboo.’ But our training was different…
My father did not get angry when I challenged the signatories to the family account
His response to my challenge still resonates in my mind:
“Democracy must have its limits. Otherwise one day when the three of us (he was refering to himself, me and Kwadwo, my younger brother) have to travel, you (Kofi and Kwadwo) are going to vote that I should carry all our luggage in front, while you chat and crack jokes behind me.”
Where do we set this limit on democracy?
I hope to come back to this another time.
What I found remarkable then and even now, looking back, is that my father did not prevent me from asking questions or challenging the system.
As I grew up, I had many problems challenging systems. Many older people I met thought (and still think) some questions should not be asked by younger ones or junior colleagues, especially publicly.