No matter how much the chameleon changes its colour, its face will never change. This is how the politicians in the country are. No matter which party they belong, they will always be celebrated liars.
All presidents are politicians and all politicians are salespersons, this makes all salespersons liars. It may sound like a brazen conclusion, but in the world we live today, it is a reality that we must confront and dealt with because of the immense suffering we are undergoing.
I would like to say that we are all salespersons to different degrees, in our daily lives. Everybody has something he or she wants to sell, we want to sell our talents or skills, and we want to sell to our neighbours our friendliness. Everything we do, the style of clothes we put on, the model of car we own, our behaviours are all carefully selected to sell ourselves so we can attract opposite sex, increase our income and to become popular.
Every profession is linked with sales, as lawyers try to sell to the jury on the defendant’s guilt or innocence. Public speakers sell to the audience on whatever subject they promote. Politicians try to sell to the public his agenda, his ideology or his qualifications for an office he or she is seeking.
The statement that all salespersons are liars needs to be explained. There are many different ways in which a person can tell a lie. There are simple straightforward lies in which the liar is simply stating a fact that is false. Sometimes this type of lie, if repeated often enough will be believed by many, especially if it comes from someone in a place of authority.
Before the elections, we were told that this new dispensation will decrease cost of living, backed up by quality education, but to our greatest surprise at the 21st Century, we are now seeing fetish being used as reason for the government’s failure to improve our lives; what a pity.
However most of the lies these people tell are more complicated and are better classified as fallacies. These are complex deceitful statements that are used to sell an idea by misleading claims. This is what our politicians have been doing over the years, lying and deceiving us to the point that the country is almost at a stand still.
They like to talk like sheep with humility but they act like wolves and lions devouring their victims without mercy. This is what is going on in the country. When they want power they promised us heaven on earth, pledged to make Sierra Leone a better place than before, but since they got the power they have forgotten us and we are now languishing in poverty and finding it very difficult to survive.
Together they have hijacked and exercise full control over the country’s resources with their cronies and we who do not belong to this dispensation, either we join them or we continue to perish.
Scholarships and grants that were once given to all regardless of tribe or party affiliation are now used as a weapon against the vulnerable to the extent that education is becoming a farce.
Like the days of slavery, these predators we call our politicians today and their cronies, the business elite and the well connected determine and control everything in our beloved country. They determine who will be appointed or sacked, who will go to jail and who will be freed, what the prices of basic commodities would be and who will get scholarship and grants.
However, most of the lies these people tell are so complicated and are better classified as fallacies. These politicians make complex and deceitful statements that are used to sell an idea by misleading claims. This they do with different individuals to varying degrees for different purposes.
These pathological liars we call politicians have more than 100 ways in which they can use fallacies to deceive or mislead the populace. They can be summarized in several classifications like emotionalism, propaganda, suggestion, irrelevance, diversion, ambiguity, confusion etc.
Our political leaders must begin to note that their hypocrisies are not easily forgotten and as a matter of fact, they can fool some of us some of the time but cannot fool all of us at all times. Fortunately, as our democracy grows, it is increasingly becoming difficult to deceive most of the people.
I am not talking about those with strong party affiliations that find nothing wrong with their political parties but find everything distasteful so far as it is coming from the other party. For such persons, one does not need to be a clairvoyance to know they are only protecting their parochial interests. I am talking about those discerning people whose concerns are for the interest of this country with no due respect to political parties.
Why was the statement made that all politicians are liars? This is because all of their tactics learnt in their political training class is based on fallacies and all fallacies are intentionally deceptive. This is the definition of a lie. A lie is a statement that is intentionally deceptive. Fallacies are all lies. Many examples could be given.
This new dispensation is two years old. We were told that cost of living would be cheaper than before, tribalism would be a thing of the past, education’s quality would improve and democracy and human rights would be far better than before. To our greatest shock the country has been plunged deeper into recession, increase poverty, tribalism at its highest and these predators continue to lie with impunity.
Do they think we are all illiterates that don’t understand what is right from wrong or good from bad? Since the country plunged into recession with the Leone depreciating everyday, none of them have come out to explain to us what the causes are and how they intend to solve it.
But I congratulated the president that he changed his mind for last weekend’s phone in programmes. It was good on his part to cancel it because he has nothing to tell us or to give us solutions to the ever ending problems. It would be better for him not to even think of re-scheduling it for another date. Mr. President just forget about we the people we will decide out fate when the time comes.
Back to our sales person, if one salesperson was well dressed and friendly and another salesperson was sloppy and rude, which one would you buy a product from? People would almost unanimously choose the first. This is a fallacy because the buyer is not buying the salesperson, they are buying their product.
These has been the mistake the country has been making during elections, instead of us looking at the policies and try to evaluate them to pick out the best; we just looked at pictures and facial expression and thought these were positive signs for a good leader. What did we voted for, we voted for rotten education, failed economic policies, handsomeness and high cost of living. A country always deserve the leader it gets.
A buyer’s choice should be based on the characteristics of the product and not the characteristics of the salesperson. This is true of almost all fallacies. The fallacies have nothing to do with the product. What a salesperson says and what they do and their product should be evaluated separately. This is especially true of our politicians.
In today’s professional advertising campaigns, politicians always read speeches written by professional speech writers. What a politician says in a beautiful patriotic speech should be clearly separated from their actual experience, their character, their qualifications and their real accomplishments in relevant professions. These political speeches are essentially lies simply because no matter what they say, they were written by another person. The speaker is simply an actor reading another’s words. He is misleading because he is pretending that the ideas are his own. What a shame to our politicians.
The obvious question is why do salespersons use fallacies? Why don’t salespersons simply tell the truth? The answer to this is very simple. They use fallacies because they work. They sell products. People in general don’t spend a lot of time analyzing a sales pitch. They are easily swayed by a friendly smooth talking salesperson.
Simple fallacies are the most effective way to sell any product, whether it is a used car, a political ideology, a religious creed or any consumer product. A politician or lawyer does not want to tell the whole truth. They only want to tell the potential people the good work done by their leaders, not the bad features. The detrimental result of this practice is that the buyer can only make a sound judgment if all features of a product are known. However this is irrelevant to the seller, who is only interested in making a sale.
In most of our daily activities, many of these sales judgments we make are trivial and not of significant importance. Unfortunately, the general public’s habit of not analyzing a sales pitch about consumer products, which is not especially important, also have the same attitude toward sale pitches in other areas, such as politics, economics or law, which are very important.
I do hope that some day we would have respectable politicians who are ready to change the cause of the country. By the way I know certainly the tables will turn again no matter how long it takes, this is a fact politicians fail to admit. Sitting behind my desk, I can foresee upset, disillusioned and frustrated citizens. May God grant them the wisdom to rule us with dignity, peace, tranquility, respect and love and may they be good examples for others to follow.
By Austin Thomas