‘When the chips are down, these civilized people will eat each other.’
Time for South Africa to choose – do we worship the Lord of the Flies or not?
White privilege, black tax, black first land first – you know a country is in trouble when the sloganeering begins. Slogans divide. Their content is almost incidental.
In the words of Josiah Bartlet, one of America’s best presidents, you need something after the ten words of a campaign slogan if you’re going to govern a country.
I hate to say this, but removing Jacob Zuma is also something of a slogan. Perhaps one of the better ones, but still a slogan.
Zuma Must Fall, Fees Must Fall, Take Back the Land. There is no magic pill for our nation. We don’t have a disease; no, we have demons. And the type that ‘only come out by prayer and fasting’, in other words, with pain and toil.
Today, our anonymous, party-run MPs made a choice.
But I reckon that choice pales in comparison with the choices we all need to make tomorrow.
We need to choose to stop being victims, and to stop seeking for the moral high ground that makes us all feel superior, the elevated territory from which to launch hand-grenaded slogans.
That means we need to work for a government that works, not one that suits our rhetorical taste – young people and students, I’m looking at you. You can have ideology or the common good. Not both.
We need to stop with the slogans right now.
I don’t want to read about some mythical idea of reclaiming ‘the land’ anymore. I don’t want to read screeds about quotas in sport. I don’t want to read about white privilege even (I think history warns against lumping together people by virtue of race).
I do have one or two policy ideas though for our eventual new president.
First, how about you ask white people to pay a bit more tax for the next presidential term – to fund a sovereign wealth fund, write off debt etc – but, on the condition that after the five years is over, BEE and affirmative action, and all concepts of white privilege are permanently put to bed, and thus we start looking toward the future? That’s a price I think a lot of white people would pay.
Second – halve the cabinet, appoint the best people as ministers and directors, get society’s leaders together, and let’s implement the National Development Plan – an ANC plan which is almost universally lauded, with the sole exception of ANC leadership. South Africa has wealth within our borders – but we need a sense of plan and good faith if people are going to put their wealth to good use.
Third, we need to talk morality again in this country. Peace, forgiveness, family, marriage – show me a country without a high estimation of these things, and I’ll show you a ticking time bomb. Ubuntu needs positive content – a common humanity relies on people being raised in good house and homes in which they can learn these things.
Life and death hover over every life, every country. It’s time to choose.