The ‘Stubborn Optimist’

Sometimes, I wonder how as you think about something others would be thinking about it at the same time. Over lunch some day last week, our lunch talk was about too much pessimism in the motherland and a corresponding too little optimism. My colleagues were wandering whether that level of pessimism was ever likely to leverage national development.

A week later, attention was drawn to Kofi Annan describing himself as the ‘the stubborn optimist’ in one of the many fantastic tributes. I am unlikely to state for the record who exactly quoted him because I think whoever was calling the tributes did not find it necessary to acknowledge the possibility of listeners tuning in at different times. All I heard was the next tribute to be read by the children so I assumed the previous one was read on behalf of the family.

Usually, you would expect to be told who read before the children. That works by redundancy in radio broadcasting. The spoken word functions fleetingly, so fast it needs repetition for the slow at hearing to get it. (I enjoyed the daughter’s trouser and coat without tie is no suit and therefore casual dressing story).

Before I go any further, I would be glad to learn someone is definitely going to put all the tributes, including others issued or published elsewhere, into one compendium. Interested teachers need it to recommend to their students. I think every student must read it; for pleasure or lessons of optimism guiding a well-lived experience.

I was taught repeatedly in life that you can’t reap where you haven’t sown and that you cannot expect to succeed without tenacious optimism. It goes for motherlands. If the sons and daughters of a motherland choose to be pessimistically not much doing they can hardly advance in improved living conditions. Where they apply themselves optimistically expecting a future brightened by the fruit of hardwork, they live more comfortable lives.

Part of what I have been taught has also emphasised that you can’t expect to achieve much in politics if you haven’t done much before you enter it. The evidence is all over. All the ampɛbrɛ people succeeded to do was to enrich self, family and friends, retiring with V8s for themselves and building mansions for themselves. They never learned, and never will learn, that there is something called selflessness of leadership constructed from the principle that the leader who builds a prosperous nation prospers from that prosperity.

‘The little boy who says ‘I’ll’ try,’ will climb to the hill-top.’ That is optimism. For ‘the little boy who says ‘I can’t,’ will at the bottom stop.’ That is pessimism. I thank the teacher (unfortunately I can’t remember which one) who taught me that because it has guided me to achieve something by trying to look optimistically ahead. Jesse Jackson said something similar: ‘If you try, you may lose. If you don’t try, you are guaranteed to lose.’

I don’t know how many of my compatriots believe that. I can say for certainty, however, that the Christ Apostolic Church people who have been keeping the neighbourhood sleepless would not be part of the hardworking who would toil with brain and hands than invest their all in prayer, as prayer warriors. They would rather sit idly because they prefer to pray in ‘I will look up to the hills from thence will come my daily bread.’ That is pessimism because they in reality know the days of manna falling from heaven are long, long gone, most likely never to return because they cannot love their neighbours as themselves. They seem not to know about the perilous consequences for violating the golden rule.

It is strange how, and in wonderment, the congress type leaders cultivate their heartlessness. Please don’t be bored or irritated with my constant reference to a congress government shutting down schools for children with disabilities. I am compelled to do the repetition because it still baffles me how a group of people forming government, a congress government, managed to chop all the public money as to not to be able to find the small money required to run schools for children with disabilities and rather callously shut them down.

In it all, the ampɛbrɛ congress people will not be ruffled to eschew pessimism. They will drum it in opposition as they are currently buried in. In government they practised it, making sure their selves benefitted while the rest of us languished in anguish. They are the ones pushing and preaching pessimism all over that nothing beneficial to the motherland has happened since they were voted out of power. They forget they are pushing pessimism as weapon of politics, to the extent that a colleague feels it is government which is not telling its success stories.