During the last few weeks, we have been quite critical of the way the government of Liberia has handled the Ebola crisis. We have consistently expressed the opinion that the catastrophe or calamity (the current hyperbole in vogue) could have been avoided, or lessened, had the administration designed and implemented effective (workable) policies. For example, we argue that the government has not improved healthcare delivery and services; the government has not improved the education system; the government has not improved the environment to produce jobs in the country; and worst of all, the government has allowed corruption to run wild in the country, with impunity, we might add. We further argue that the poor policies and reckless leadership have led to the impoverishment of the citizenry... We, therefore, conclude that the government fosters an environment that is ill-equipped for the effective handling of such a crisis as the Ebola epidemic.
The above summarizes our viewpoint here at The Perspective.
But to counteract what we have put forth as reasoned analyses and arguments, there is this whacky proposition now being advanced: That in times of crises, such as this, individual citizens do have equal responsibility as government officials for the containment of such crises. They argue that it is irresponsible for private citizens to vehemently criticize the government unless they can put forth a plan of their own. In other words, don't criticize the government unless you have a credible plan to deliver us from the crisis... Because we are all in this together and we share equal responsibility to find solutions. Put forth a workable counter-plan or remain silent on the sidelines and pray for our fellow citizens presently in the danger zone.
The proponents of this strange argument see us as unpatriotic for criticizing the government at this crucial time. They take us to task for being unable or unwilling to take on the difficult tasks facing the government, the nation. Surprisingly, these people come from various walks of life; some of them even see themselves as intellectuals... what they all have in common is their stupendous illogic.
What sense does such an argument make? We are not the ones selling the natural resources of the land and pocketing the profits. We are not the ones receiving funds from foreign sources, targeted for developmental assistance, and then pocket and use the funds for ourselves. We are not the ones who have failed to build a functioning healthcare system. We are not the ones responsible for a dilapidated school system. We are not the ones responsible for fostering a corrupt environment that leads to impoverishment. Did anyone elect us to run and manage the country? Do we collect and manage tax dollars? No.
How could such a preposterous idea be advanced in the first place? Those people who hold such a flimsy viewpoint demonstrate their naiveté, perhaps their ignorance. Those who agree with them show their ignorance and gullibility as well. The truth of the matter is the government has full responsibility to handle the crisis and protect its citizens and residents. After all, the president was elected by the people and she formed a team we call her administration. She made promise after promise to the people... She would do this, that and the other because she was the best qualified among the list of candidates. The people reposed the trust in her. All funds belonging to the people are channeled through them (the president and her administration). The government was formed with the promise that it had the ability and desire to improve the plight of the people. If things remain bleak and dismal after nine continuous years, it is the government's fault; not that of the individual citizen.
To hold the individual private citizen, living at home or abroad, equally responsible as the president and her ministers is a ludicrous notion. We don't pay ourselves exorbitant salaries to run the government; they do. The right to criticize is a sacred tenet of democracy. The citizen has the right to critique his or her government without having the burden to propose alternative measures. And that remains our position. We shall criticize this government and those people who liken criticism to a lack of patriotism have yet to understand the meaning of patriotism; they have yet to understand the citizen's right.