Gambia: It is Time To Adopt The Golden Rule As a Moral Compass     

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A country that was dealt a devastating blow and suffered terrible atrocities under dictatorship cannot be gullible and condone tendencies when they resurface. In his book titled, Ethics 101, Maxwell quoted U.S representative Jabez L. M. Curry states “a state to prosper must be built on foundations of a moral character, and this character is the principal element of its strength, and the only guarantee of its permanence and prosperity.”

A moral nation must therefore embrace ethical behavior, which ensures a rich and successful nation. As countries strive to develop competence in their citizens, they must make them ethical. Ethics and competence are considered a winning formula by most leadership theorists. Ethical organizations enjoy long term success compared to organizations that only focus on competence for the quick wins. Ethics prevail over unethical practices even though it may take longer. Coercion and malpractices have been used as expedient schemes to win people over or gain the upper hand, but the gains are temporary, and the bad deeds or malpractices eventually catch up with those that use it. Unethical behavior and immorality is only desired by leaders and their allies who are only interested in personal gains at the expense of the welfare of the people. It is proven over time that people and leaders that choose to be unethical and adopt expediency ignoring righteousness always lose in the end. It is evident that organizations, institutions, and even countries that thrive and endure durable prosperity are built on a moral and strong ethical foundation, which is consistent and unwavering. The foundation cannot only be built on theories, but citizens serving as the moral pillars. This must be achieved with the pressure and commitment to do the right thing, which people struggle to adopt because of wrong choices. Theorists believe a rule that can guide people make the right choices, and it works in all situations is the “Golden Rule.”

The Golden rule requires people to be honest with themselves before they can be honest with others. It does not ask for perfection, but to make a concerted effort towards being ethical in our dealings with others.  As stated by Maxwell, the Golden rule cannot only be a known standard, but there must be a will to adopt it. This involves embracing and adopting the right ethical standards, which includes the ability to differentiate right from wrong, good from evil, and conformity to the right standards of living. While the effects of these contrasts are known, the biggest challenge is the commitment to do what is right when faced with the dilemma of choosing between right and wrong. The golden rule is widely accepted and its relevance is based on the principle of common sense, which requires fair treatment and giving all people what they deserve. Those that treat people wrongly act in contradiction to this basic rule. When unethical behavior or wrongful treatment of others is influenced by power or position of authority, wealth, politics, race, or nationality, the reasoning cannot be morally justified. It is ethical to seek common ground with others in all human relations, and not operate from a position of advantage. Leaders that ignore the “law of priorities,” prioritizing what is important to the people, instead pursue their own personal agenda and use divisive strategies, show poor character and judgement. The ethical principle and strategy against leaders that exploit the weakness of the people is for the people to acknowledge their shared interests and beliefs, and unite against the opposition to their values and interests.

During these difficult and uncertain times, sometimes caused by moral bankruptcy, choosing leaders with strong moral character could be key to political and economic resurgence. Leaders with great character surround themselves with men and women with integrity and ethical excellence. Talent is developed or could be a natural gift, but character is a choice. Societies must therefore choose wisely, and elect leaders that are dependable and trustworthy, and not those that are deceptive in their actions and deliverance. Societies that experienced bad governance, or lived under dictatorship will acknowledge that wrong decisions leave scars, and bad decisions and wrong choices lead to regrettable consequences. Making the right decisions requires moral courage, but knowing what is right and making wrong decisions could be the worst cowardice. Making poor choices affect both present and future generations leaving them with the burden of correcting past wrongs.

Doing the right thing could be challenging but bear great rewards for society. When men and women who are committed to doing the right thing are put in positions of responsibility, they execute their duties responsibly and diligently. Responsible citizens are great assets to any organization or country.  Leaders with poor character do not hesitate to compromise their integrity for their personal interests, and seek those that could easily compromise their integrity based on circumstances. Theorists posit that decisions, not conditions determine your ethics. Ethical people make good choices regardless of circumstances, which creates better conditions in the future.

The recent success of getting rid of dictatorship has been mishandled and misappropriated, which created unfavorable circumstances, and negligence that do not deserve reward but rather a vigilant reaction from the people. Vigilant citizens address issues that impact their livelihood. They do not look the other way, but find time to exercise their citizenship duties knowing that the time is always right. They educate themselves and remain conscious of national issues with the understanding of the danger of being ignorant. As Doctor Martin Luther King puts it, “ Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can.” The Gambian people owe it to themselves to seek the light, the responsible government that will pave the way to brighter days. It might be my opinion, but I find that light in the UDP or another party that could be conscientiously described as having unconditionally sacrificed for the Gambia.

Ebrima Manneh

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