There is a belief that a praise singer does more harm than a critic. A praise singer tells you only that which you want to hear. A praise singer applauds you for everything – good or bad – he aims to present you as someone who is infallible. That is where the danger is; because, as a human being, no one is infallible and no one is immune to the tricks of the ego. When one constantly hears people presenting him as someone who can do no wrong, gradually that sinks in and lo and bohold! One begins to believe the same as truth.
The critic, however, is of two different kinds – both are beneficial. The first type of critic is the one who does it out of spite, out of hate, out of jealousy, or out of a sheer desire to bring you down. He let’s you always be on your guard and never feel complacent. The second type of critic is the one who does it out of genuine love and the desire to make you better. This type is very objective and detached. He observes and analyses issues critically with a view to offering great and beneficial advice for the betterment of the nation.
These two types of critics are essential for our development. The praise singers; however, are out to destroy. They too are of two types; one does it out of greed and a narcissistic view while the other, does it intentionally to destroy you from within. You have to be mindful of both. They are like a cancer which cuts away through dignity and self respect like a knife does through butter. Shun them.
During the previous regime, we saw them in hordes. They sang and praised the then incumbent to an extent that he felt that he was beyond reproach. He felt that he was a demi-god. I even saw people thanking and praising the man for sacking them! How ridiculous! At that time, I wrote a poem entitled ‘The Culture of Sycophancy’. This poem blamed the past dictatorship not only on the dictator but on the population as well.
I am worried because I am seeing similar things being repeated in our new government. Some people seem to think that praising you is the best way to be in the good books of government. That is dangerous. Beware of them, Mr President; for, most of the time they are not genuine.
The leaders live a lifestyles, fancy
Yet we all naively call it democracy
We condone the enervating bureaucracy
They are drunken with power’s ecstasy
This misnomer causes their redundancy
I call this bane the culture of sycophancy
The kowtowing behind them is pure lunacy
We have institutionalized praising incumbency
It’s time we recognized our collective might
Gambians should stop singing the praises of leaders. The leaders are there to serve the nation. If they do what they are supposed to do, thank them but don’t praise them.
Have a good day Mr President.