First Baba Isa|3 June 2017
31. The most frightening thing I see on social media is how young people openly insult their elders in the name of political disagreement. I mean how can you sleep after openly insulting an elder on Facebook?
I don't believe that every old man is wise. No. Some grey hair lack gray matter. But even if all there is to a head is the grey hair, it still deserves some respect. And I'm also not saying we shouldn't engage elders in debates, we should. But who says we can't make our points without insulting elders?
Insulting elders is a sign of not just poor home training but a serious indictment on our education. I mean, a youth should have a robust and healthy vocabulary that he can deploy in debates devoid of insults and name calling. That's class.
32. If any elder gives you a desk, a device and a salary in the name of a job to insult elders, please don't take the job. Refused to be used as a bullet in a war you don't even understand. The highest form of degradation is to become someone else's insult machine. Don't accept such a status. You are better than that.
33. There are also times when the elders are clearly the ones who will be insulting youths because the youths don't agree with them. What should you do in such times? Still maintain class. Teach them manners. Ignore them if you can. If you must respond, be firm and factual in your respond but no insults. Win through a superior argument but never through insults.
I adopt these two approaches all the time. I can stand here today and challenge anyone to tell me if I have ever insulted them on Facebook since I joined this platform in 2009. I have disagreed with many on here but I have never insulted anyone, elder or fellow youth.
Even, few days ago I shared a couple of posts on my timeline about the Civil War. I didn't write even one of those posts. (though I'm posting my article on that soon; still writing it) I shared them because I consider them the other side of the story about what happened to the South South minorities during the war that has not been told as many times as it should.
Many persons came there and insulted me. No one bothered to check if I even authored those articles. An elderly man I love and respect so much rained all sort of insults and even mentioned my wife in one of his comments. Up till this moment I have not responded to any of those insulting comments.
Long before Michelle Obama's famous quote, my mother has been teaching me that: "When they go low, we go high."
Most of my friends couldn't take those insults being rained on me, they called me to ask whether I have seen those comments. When I said yes, they wondered why I was not saying anything. I told them there was nothing to say.
When I got home late in the night yesterday, my wife asked me if I had seen those horrible comments. I told her yes. Then I told her, "Look, Baby, I might be president tomorrow. A lot of people will insult me during and after the campaigns. They will even buy radio and television time to curse me. And in the midst of such insults and curses, I will still be expected to be a great president. I have to learn how not to respond to every insult and keep my eye on the job. That's what I'm doing right now, I'm learning… We should be grateful to those insulting me on my timeline for holding a view different from theirs. They are training me."
34. I might not agree with you but I will defend your right to disagree with me with the last drop of my blood. I see young people fighting each other with such anger and bitterness especially on political issues and I just can't help but wonder who bewitched us.
I wonder where we got the idea that all those who don't agree with us are our enemies. The main plank of democracy is disagreement. Debate. Argument. If you hate debate and disagreement then you are not a democrat.
In democracy, disagreement is not a sign that something is wrong. It's a sign that something is growing. Every time someone disagrees with you, you see him as a saboteur, you conclude he is a demon, he belongs to the enemy camp, he is a paid agent, he is being biased, he is being sentimental, he is a fool… That's a sad arrogance.
People with such attitude make totalitarian leaders. They think they are always right and don't listen to anyone.
35. Do a self assessment today. How do you feel when you read or listen to a contrary view? How do you react when someone don't agree with you or with someone or something you adore? Do you react with anger and bitterness? Then you have to change. You need to be more accommodating.
A youth that cannot take criticism can never be a great leader. And stop dismissing criticism in the name that its not constructive. That's a new way for many of us now, once you don't agree with them they dismiss your views as destructive or extreme criticism… As if they have some sort of barometer for measuring which is destructive and constructive criticism.
The future of our state and country can only be shaped by leaders who gather critics around them and not an army of praise singers.
More thoughts soon…
Firsts Baba Isa (FBI)
Is an activist & legal practitioner