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Voices of the Struggling Masses

Please allow me a few minutes of your time to utter my outlook of the current Election conditions. I am very uneasy of expressing my views in such a public medium since I am incredibly aware that my views of things constitute nothing but MY view of things.

However, it is regrettable that the election's chase for the hearts and minds and perhaps the sympathy of the good Liberians has been relegated to a battle of "educated vs. uneducated".

Some are suggesting that the Liberian masses are too "IGNORANT" to make a sensible political decision. This is an implication of democratic insufficiency. According to early political theorists, such proposition is an accusation of horrifying magnitude as in the case of earlier thinkers who wanted democracy but only for property owners; 'ordinary people' would be too preoccupied with the day-to-day scrabble for personal survival to be able to exercise the disinterested rationality necessary for public life. Thus, their role should be restricted to the periodic electing of competing teams of people experienced in political arts. In between elections, according to such theories, it was best that ordinary people remained passive, being administered but not contributing to administration. That educated Liberians should resort to such predisposition, in a climate of a deciding election, of political superiority is outrageous and highly divisive.

It should be stressed here that classic liberal or otherwise modern participatory democracy does not expect that all of the people spend their entire time familiarizing themselves with matters of politics. Many, like me, are examples of this classic phenomenon.

Many Liberians are inimical about the rule of the "Educated Class Liberians". They've been subjected to years of protracted suffering and severe humiliation from the well-minded or otherwise educated class Liberians. To the average Liberian, this election is an opportunity to regain their dignity and respect by leveraging their control of the ballot box irrespective of the consequential effect. This is not ignorance. This is distrust and perhaps mistrusts in the educated class Liberians and the outcome of their Western miseducation and unparallel intoxication.

It is essential as Liberians to listen to the voices of the struggling masses. These "illiterate' people are faced with difficult and often challenging decisions every day of their lives. Many must decide between major conflicting interests - health, food, shelter and education. For us the "well-to-do", education came not as an option but something we were privileged to have since health, food and shelter were readily available. Such has not been the case in Liberia for nearly 15 years and counting.

The cries we are now hearing from our people "you don't know book I'll vote for you", "you know book your country dirty" and so on are not cries of ignorance but wake-up calls to all of us well-minded Liberians. There are cries of hope from the disenfranchised that someday someone who understands the plight of the "illiterate" masses will rise to the occasion and bring back their hope, trust, confidence and meaning to true education.

My intention is not to discount or discredit the value of education, as I am an avid lover of academics and academic pursuits. Nevertheless, we must never allow our confidence or self-propelled competence to strip others of their dignity, self-worth or humanity.

We are all God's children.

About the author:
Paul B. Muah is a native of Liberia who resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife Alma and son Caleb. Paul has earned, with honors an Associate of Arts in Management, an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems, a Master of Science in International Financial Management and is a candidate for the Master of Science in Industrial Quality Engineering. He has also earned a Graduate Certificate in Accounting and Financial Management and is Microsoft Certified Professional. He is employed with Gravograph, Inc and has worked in various capacities from Senior Application Engineer to Corporate Technical Trainer.
muah@bellsouth.net