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Opinions of Monday, 1 November 2010

Columnist: Adu, Kwasi

If You Disagree, I Will Insult You

By Kwasi Adu

Riddle, Riddle! What does a person who does not have any substantive point to counter an argument do? Answer: He resorts to personal insults and attacks against the opponent!

It is only a plonker who does that. Unfortunately, this misbehaviour is increasingly becoming the hallmark of some Ghanaian politicians and journalists.

When the NPP General Secretary said that the NDC government has no proper foreign policy, the response from an NDC Deputy Minister was that the NPP man was a “Kokoase Akruaseni”. He could have countered the NPP General Secretary’s claim in a way that would have exposed his ignorance without resorting to personal insults that even touched all villagers in the cocoa-growing areas.

When Mr. Pratt stated and gave reasons to show that ex-President Rawlings’ effusions against President Mills were undermining the government, the response from the Rawlings camp was: Mr Pratt was a traitor who betrayed his friends. Nothing about the points Mr. Pratt raised.

There are too many of such instances by people who are expected to have the powers of reason and decency. “Nana Akufo Addo is a short man”, “President Mills looks like a chimpanzee”, “That Minister is a money-grabbing whore”, “The other one is a greedy bastard” etc, etc. What do these have to do with whether or not the subjects of the attacks are capable of managing the affairs of this country?

I remember one experience on the children’s playground when a pupil pronounced “Seychelles Island” as “Se-kye-le Island”. When his friend laughed at his odd pronunciation, he turned to him, stuck up his thumb and shouted “Wo maame t**. What did the laughing child’s mother got to do with the other one’s mispronunciation of “Seychelles”?

We are not going to resolve any political differences through personal insults. The joy of argument is that one can expose the weakness of the argument of his/her opponent without going into the gutter.

If we were all to descend into the gutter and smear mud, political life will be tedious and probably short. This is so especially since if such things continue, the next likely events are slaps, then blows, then machetes, then guns, then wars.

It is really a sign of a weak mind when a political debate has to attract personal abuse. Whereas it should be acceptable for someone to say that “Mr. A hi-jacks other people’s genuine concerns for his personal interest”, if it can be shown how, it is a mark of intellectual poverty to resort to personal attacks instead of addressing the issues raised.

It is funny when the people who resort to personal attacks themselves are so much full of personal dirt, that if others decide to descend into the gutter with them, they will not like it a little bit. What if it can be shown that the guy is an arsonist or a serial womaniser who forced his wife to befriend one of his girlfriends in some time past, or even that he slept with twin sisters? These are all there oh! So people should be careful, really careful. The days when some people ended arguments by shooting their opponents should be allowed to remain in the past. Yoooo!!!!!

Note: This article was published in The Insight Newspaper on 29 October 2010