I’ve been bothered for a while now. One question, has been eating at me over the last couple of weeks. What is the point of all these congratulatory advertisements? Every single day since the promulgation there has been a plethora of advertisements congratulating Hon. Freedom and Billy on winning their seats in government. I can’t help but wonder who they are targeted at. Is it toward the government? It’s not like our president is scanning through them and taking note of the people who congratulate him, he is too busy looking at some policemen. And it’s not like the rest of Kenya is watching, because we are too busy “moving on.”
So why do they exist?
Yesterday the Supreme Court released their detailed judgment. It explained, in detail, why the court had to decide for our dear president. As I read through it, I could feel a pleading. As if the person who wrote the judgment was trying to convince the reader. As if he was saying, “you see, I just had to do it.” But that’s not the most interesting part. The interesting part is what happened in the 24 hours between the yesterday and today. The people I know who supported the president emailed, called and texted to convince me that the Supreme Court ruling was fair. They were trying to convince me. All my friends who supported the other guy called me too. They were telling me an entirely different story, of course.
Anais Nin, one of the most eloquent writers I have read, says “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” And for a long time there has been a battle about objectivity and truth. However, the simple fact is that, while not everything is relative, some things certainly are. “Give any two men a certain set of tools and one guy will give you the Eiffel tower, while another will give you the titanic,” is how a friend of mine puts it.
The thing about text, is that it is open to interpretation. And when we read, we see what we want to see. Even in your eyes, you will read this, and your bias will come through stronger than a 100-watt bulb in the middle of a long July night. History remembers the Thomas Jefferson that pioneered the USA, not the one who raped his slaves. The truth, as you know it, is only a mixture of ideas, and opinions passed on to you by the people around you. And it’s even worse now in the day of Cyber bubbles where the internet is enclosing you with people who share the same opinion as you.
And, that’s their purpose.
The congratulatory advertisements of course. The more you see something, the more you become accustomed to it. A workmate tells me that Uhuru will begin to grow on the country as a president. How can he not? He’s everywhere. Smiling, laughing, making statements, making funny youtube videos and, for the last week, on every single page in the newspaper.
Interesting thing is, there’s a word for that. It’s called tribute, and it began in ancient China. It’s argued that just knowing that you have to pay tribute to this leader meant you recognised that particular leader, and established his leadership even further in your mind. So there’s only one thing that those advertisements are saying, “the king is dead, long live the king.”
Long live the king, indeed.