We’ve heard so many people advance arguments, vehemently, in support of either the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) or the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Discussions between members of the two dominating parties have often been implacable, characterized by character assassinations, derision, and foul language.

They have committed no treason.

In short, they want Ghanaians to cast their ballot for their presidential candidate in the December polls.

You might want to ask if their actions are criminal in nature. And if their quest to have their candidate voted for is wrong in the first place.

Well, the eternal response remains a big NO. They are not wrong, but the process they are using is questionable.

Fact is that the legal regime we find ourselves gives backing to such activities and many others provided they are conducted in lieu of the law.

But much as we’re at liberty to initiate discussions on any issue, it’s important to consider how one’s future would be improved especially on matters relating to the governance of this country.

As a citizen, you should be bothered about such things as how the standard of your life, that of your children, other Ghanaians, and future generations would be improved should party A or B be given the mandate in the presidential and parliamentary elections.

We should be mindful that Ghana doesn’t just need a leader simply because every four years we have to vote for someone to steer the affairs of the state. It’s significant to note that the country currently has several leaders apart from the governing party.

Per Ghana’s population which has been estimated to be around 28 million, the country has the same number of leaders who contribute to discussions on relevant issues bothering them and their families.

It should, therefore, not be said that the December 7 polls are just about choosing leaders. It is about mortgaging your future and that of others into the hands of some few Ghanaians who have shown the interest to use our resources judiciously.

As young, but formidable as our democracy is, we should always strive to elect leaders who are just, selfless, thoughtful, humble, research-oriented, truthful, people who would drive the industrialization agenda of the country, people who would put entrepreneurship on the governance radar to create more jobs, and people who would be open to divergent views, especially those from their political opponents.

Our political system has followed one path subjugating all authority to one party who end up discontinuing projects started by previous governments.

The worst part is that the fortunate party ends up disavowing, maligning and discrediting policy suggestions from well-meaning Ghanaians and its political opponents.

What we’ve failed to appreciate is that as citizens of this country we all want the best for Ghana.

And as stated by Dancehall warrior, Stonebwoy at the Joy FM’s Skuuls Reunion held in October, all the political parties have a vision they want to share with Ghanaians.

We might disagree with one another, but let us do so in the interest of the country, he added.

No one individual can say he loves Ghana more than himself. And no political party can boast that it has shown more love to Ghanaians than others since we adopted democracy as our system of governance.

I have maintained that all the regimes Ghana has experienced be it military or democratic regimes have all done one or two things to improve the fortunes of the country.

It would be sheer disingenuous to rule out their contribution to the current development standing of Ghana.

Both the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the largest opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have done what they felt possible within the circumstances they found themselves.

And though we might register our disappointment with their performances, we should never write them off as done-nothing-parties.

I have arrived at this painstaking conclusion that Ghanaians are to be blamed for the current development levels of the country.

This is, contrarily, not a function of political parties, but rather the citizens. We have become more catholic than the Pope in our utterances and actions.

We deceive ourselves that we love Ghana, but we’re driven by blind optimism and ephemeral patriotism in what we do.

As a people, we are still occupying that rung of the political ladder where we are unable to discern between patriotism and partisanship. We take our heightened partisan posture to mean patriotism.

Someone wrote that “Patriotism these days is like Christmas—lots of people caught up in a festive atmosphere replete with lights and spectacles.”

Patriotism is not about love of Ghana if all you ever care for are the mountain, rivers, national parks, Black Star Square, and the thick forest.

If you believe that’s what patriotism is about then Ghana can’t be compared to the other countries in the African continent that have more of the scenery.

Also, patriotism is not about blindly believing what our leaders tell us that they have done or are about to do. The truth is that they always talk about projects they haven’t constructed ye lie to us that they have.

Patriotism is not simply about showing up to vote come December 7 simply because everyone else is voting on that day and you felt the pressure to do same.

It’s also not about vouching and voting for your preferred candidate on the ballot.

The kind of patriotism I’m referring here is the one that comes from a deep respect for the vision of our forbearers, who sacrificed sweat, tears, and blood to bequeath to us this country.

If you’re patriotic, you will be much concerned about how your generation and that of your children's future would be bright based on policies of competing candidates.

And this means that you would have to vote for somebody who has demonstrated honesty and incorruptible character throughout his political career. Character is everything.

The 44th President of the United States, Barrack Obama noted on November 4 that the presidency does not change a person's character, but rather magnifies it.

By extension, if you vote for someone who has issues with trust deficit, his administration would be filled with lies and deception.

The characters of NPP's Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, NDC's John Mahama and PPP's Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom should concern us if we really love this country that much as we profess.

Don’t forget there are many people who go about feigning to be interested in the welfare of Ghanaians, but the scary truth is that they are not. They are only motivated by how they would siphon the nation’s kitty.

As we head to the polls, remember this refrain, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

It’s not all the candidates who pretend to love Ghana really do. Examine the lives and characters of the various presidential candidates before casting your ballot for your preferred candidate.

Remember that: what matters in the election is not NPP, NDC or the PPP. It’s you and me. Our lives matter.

If for more than eight years more graduates are suffering than they were some years past, we need to be concerned and apply the carrot and stick appropriately.

On the other hand, if the standard of living of Ghanaians has improved due to government policies, then we need to reward it.

Know that: patriotism is not blind optimism. We need to face the reality and mandate a candidate we are confident would deliver the public goods.

I'm off to the woods. I'll see you next week for another discussion. I’m for Ghana, my future, that of my children and future generation.

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