The Oasis Reporters
August 26, 2018
Public sentiment is very powerful and when it rages, it renders good argument useless, if not entirely stupid.
In the midst of public sentiment, someone putting forth the reasonable angle to an issue is an example of the proverbially despised individual who tries leading a song in the village square; there will be no one to sing with him.
Most often the masses do not really know what their interests are and this allows politicians to manipulate the minds of the masses through their sentiments. Politicians also use popular sentiments to manufacture interests for the masses.
The masses can know their lacks, and they can even know the cause of their lacks, but may know what is or is not in the interest of their deliverance from those lacks.
For instance, the masses know massive unemployment when they see it. He who has no shelter knows he has no shelter and does not see it as a blessing. Persons who have been brutalized by officers of law enforcement agencies know their dignity has been under attack. All these people can know the cause of their lacks to be the absence of good governance. Yet they can still advise officials of government to break the law to achieve political ends.
They can vote a renowned dictator as their president. They don’t have to stop there; they can argue with their life that the renowned dictator is the only useful human being throughout the length and breadth of their country.
They can even go as far as supporting or defending the unresponsiveness of the government to destruction of lives in genocidal attacks as long as their family members are not caught up in such destruction.
It is this lack of the knowledge of their true interest that will make them say ‘bring back our corruption’, even when roads and bridges know that corruption has damaged their country beyond measure. They would even sing that song with as much seriousness as if someone has taken away their corruption.
Written by Deji Adesoye.
A Public Affairs commentator and analyst