In the recent past, the activist in me has joined several Facebook groups; I call it my voice to the various ranges of issues this country faces. I decided me complaining in my bathroom was not enough and this groups presented a voice for my venting.
These groups have stood against various issues; key in them was just how they went all out to protest the proposed MP salary increases last year. These groups became the voice of the uproar that Kenyans felt against these act. This may have contributed to the president not approving to the bill.
Perhaps my favourite was how these groups went all out to ask Kenyans to consider other presidential candidates than the top contenders who represented status quo or may be worse quo. Yes at times they did not have the best language in these protects but well at least they were doing something, right? So I followed them.
But in the recent past I have found myself distancing from these groups. These elections seem to have brought the worst, or perhaps a worst I cannot stand, with a lot of intolerance and what I consider serious hate speech.
The honor question
Before I go any further, let me state that I did not for the president-elect, in fact if you read some of the blog posts in this blog you know how convicted I was of his inappropriateness to be the president of this nation. However, he was voted in. Whether I like him or not, whether I believe he is the best president we could have had or not is irrelevant, he is the voice of the people.
What that means in my books is I honor him. Yes I may be disappointed, yes I may be hurting at the choice we have clearly settled for, yes I may still have many unanswered questions (some even to God), but honor my president I must. It just is not up for debate.
One of the teachings about honor that stick out in my mind is a story in 1 Samuel 24 about King David honoring Saul. This guy had every reason to despise King Saul, this Saul guy had tried to kill him, and he was undoubtedly a poor leader for Israel. But when David has a chance to eliminate Saul, he backs off.
He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” With these words David rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.
That David could back off just reminds me there is a place for honor, whether I agree with the leaders or not.
Honor does not mean I lie down and watch as the leaders do things I do not agree with, it does not mean I always agree with them, it means I respectfully keep them on their toes. I highlight the things I do not agree with. But I must never forget they are my leaders; respectful disagreement not ugly, vicious, and personal attacks. Is it easy, no, but if I don’t I fall to the level of Saul. We must guard against this; this is what differentiates the people of God and the world.
Oh one more verse:
Romans 13: 1-7 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Doing the right thing more important than being right
Why am I telling you all these. This is a question I have had to deal with as I have watched some of the comments these groups have made. I sense a lot of dishonor.
But my second concern with these groups has been what I consider a lack of wisdom. My heroes in these elections have been media. Somehow they have been the most responsible at this election time. They have not been the sensationalist they were in 07 /08. They seem to have learnt the importance of ‘doing the right thing more than being right’. However social media and especially these groups I follow seem to have missed this lesson. Some of the comments that have been put up are blatantly wrong. Yes they may be factual, though I doubt it, but sensational they definitely are.
You see one of the things God has been teaching me is wisdom, wisdom of my tongue. I guess with freedom of speech, we could easily say anything. But there is a price to pay for whatever we say. Regardless of whether anyone agrees to the IEBC conduct (which I for one think was heroic), the sensitivity of this issue, and the wisdom required calls for restraint. This is the reason media exercised restraint. However we social media seem hell-bent on being right, wisdom come last.
Sadly that cheapens the messages coming from these groups. So yester, I sadly unsubscribed from these groups. I guess the heart of the groups had been exposed to my eyes, the honeymoon was over and much as I love to know what Kenyans are saying or think bout various issues, I realized in belonging to these groups I was condoning them.
So I have learnt two things:
1) Wisdom – To those much is given, much is expected. We must learn to seek wisdom more than being right. Wisdom.
2) “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.” Martin Luther Jr
While on the subject of darkness, I must highlight another darkness creeping into our social media, tribalism! It is interesting how every 5 years we so blatantly take 100 steps behind to caveman age in the name of tribes. Some of the comments I have seen and heard about my tribe, your tribe, are just sad. It made me think. When I have issues in my house, say when am saltless, I run to my neighbor regardless of his tribe. Infact more often than not I don know his tribe. He is a fellow Kenyan. I look at my friends list and I know people from all tribes. I do not find myself when devising ways of ensuring I never have friends from other tribes.
So why is it that during and after elections tribes become such an issue? More of an issue with us in cosmopolitan world even?
I know there are injustices that have been met to many tribes in Kenya. I know that. I feel the pain many parts of this country have had to face due to tribe. However, we cannot be the ones to perpetrate this even further. What am I saying, whatever tribe you are from; just imagine it is by simple chance! So when you find yourself being proud and making arrogant statements about your tribe, or think you are more special because you are from the tribe I come from, just tell yourself shame on me! Your tribe does not feed you. Your tribe does not make who you are. Your intolerance of other tribes does.
I have made a commitment to be different. We cannot have gotten past such an election so maturely only to become a tribal lot. So my tribesmen, I disown you, I am a Kenyan. Any injustice to a Kenyan regardless of tribe is an injustice to me. Let us rise above this thinking.
A friend of mine posted that this time we did not go to the street, we are instead fighting with words, and many of these words are social media. Shame on us!