Chris Moerdyk

You can be free or dom - your choice

2012-05-02 07:11

Chris Moerdyk

The reason so many South Africans enjoyed a long weekend holiday is because 18 years ago we chose to become a democracy.

We celebrate this historic occasion by calling it Freedom Day - a public holiday on which politicians are free to bus in  supporters and make speeches, elite management have the day off to play golf or braai and the majority of workers in the retail sector are free to choose between a day off and making two or three times their normal daily wage, the cost of which is ultimately passed on to the consumer. Just like petrol price hikes, sin-taxes and maybe even e-tolling one day.

But, it is not about the insanity of so many public holidays that I wish to write today but the issue of freedom. Personal freedom.

To me the choice is simple. We South Africans have the constitutional right to be free or to be dom.

Being free means understanding that it is quite OK to bitch about crime, corruption, high prices, fraud, service delivery, fat cats, road deaths, unemployment and all those other  issues that have become part of the South African national conversational psyche.

But, becoming obsessive, wilfully damaging property or even killing people in exercising your rights, is just plain dom.

But most dom of all are those people who allow their dissatisfaction, resentment and frustration to ruin their lives.

Sure, we are still a relatively young democracy and haven't yet learnt how to deal with things with which we disagree.  We especially haven’t leant to deal with criticism.

Particularly our politicians who are probably the country’s worst at being singularly dom because all of them are over-defensive, over-sensitive and over-reactive.

They should have a look, for example, at the level of insult and derision that is levelled at US presidents and political leaders. It is  far worse than our leaders experience.

They just take it on the chin, do the Americans. They don’t get all huffy and start suing journalists and opposition political leaders right, left and centre.  They simply understand that in a democracy freedom  of expression sometimes completely over-reaches itself. But that is no excuse to revert to communism or apartheid era draconian laws.

Ordinary South Africans also need to decide whether to allow themselves  to be free of over-reaction, intense anger and the kind of frustration that they believe only bloodletting will appease.

South Africa is not alone in having its fair share of idiots who drive like madmen, stick their hands in the till and generally just do what the hell they want.

We are free to report bad driving, report corruption, report fraud and free to just move over and let that idiot driver go past instead of playing chicken and risking our lives just because our egos are bigger than our willpower.

It is not until we achieve freedom from our own aggression, hatred, resentment and jealousy that we will truly be free.

Until that happens, we will just remain dom.          

- Follow Chris on Twitter.

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