Te whetu Orongo

Character may also be called the most effective means of persuasion.

– Aristotle, Greek philosopher

Advertising plays a major role in the art of persuasion by the use of sensationally written and spoken words. The power to persuade an Eskimo to purchase a refrigerator is well documented as the zenith of salesmanship, an established gold standard in marketing strategies.

The power to persuade people was perfected by Hitler who employed fiery oratory concerning Aryan supremacy as did Churchill with his excellent command and usage of the English language. People were moved. Minds were transformed. Alliances were forged. Geographical persuasion.

Gandhi, Mandela and MLK Jr persuaded their followers, adherents and supporters by staying their stubborn course of the cause they cherished. Ultimately, their persuasion paid off despite prison and assassination. Regrettably, other persuasions today sway the status quo. Transformational persuasion.

The best persuasion for our bad, mad and inconsiderate litterbug drivers on our roadways is to be charged, and instead of imposing a fine, the authorities should make them pick up litter every day at a given stretch of the streets for fifteen straight days three hours each day. Civic persuasion.

The power to persuade voters must necessarily accompany a written promise and guarantee that the elected politicians will step down if they are unable to perform. That will encourage meritocracy bereft of political pulls, pitfalls and pressures. Foreign investment persuasion.

Discerning voters must unite to squash the toads in politics given the fact that the persuasion “to form associations” is wholly misinterpreted, misused, misconstrued or misapplied in Article 10(1)(c) Federal Constitution (FC). Electoral reforms are another tale of statutory woe.

The persuasion of lacklustre leadership has sent deep toxic roots into the voters’ psyche with the welcome awe, emergence and acceptance of the Stockholm syndrome. Captor persuasion.

Those elected to the legislatures must be accountable to the people first, and then to the government. This is the best way for voters to be persuaded, and convinced, that their votes were not cast in vain and pain for another’s private gain.

Mindful voters are adept in selecting the source and substance of political persuasion. “I will build you paved roads, schools, hospitals, and supply you with clean drinking water and electricity” is an utterance of the elected politician’s job description, not a promise of meritorious public service.

The government of the day must become gung-ho in spending on basic amenities for people who have been unnecessarily deprived because of a choice of rural livelihood. Government is tasked with functions, duties and obligations — the three prongs of a legitimate right to be governed — to efficiently use the peoples’ wealth strictly for the benefit of the people.

Sadly, mega projects in the Amazon, for example, have been put into motion to channel resources like electricity supply and plantations’ revenue to the already filthy rich stakeholders who have either bought their politicians, or work for spendthrift politicians. Vibrant money persuasion.

Meanwhile, native populations are left to rot in the waiting halls of anticipation, expectation and reparation while economic cruelty and environmental neglect flourish unabated. Impotent environmentalists’ persuasion.

Parents, rightfully, should lead the charge in questioning everything related to the school syllabus by being ever ready to take on a faulty and deficient education system through the local Parent-Teachers Association. Teachers must be fully accountable. Full-throttle persuasion aimed at government.

Church-run schools from kindergarten to pre-college intimidate the government’s education system in North America because when it comes to influencing and persuading the young, it is time to find another mousetrap. Religious persuasion.

The right to education does not exist in the United States Constitution as it does in Article 12 FC. The right to an education should not be tempered, tainted or tampered by the government. Constitutional persuasion without statutory manipulation symbolises honest government.

Our young need to be resurrected, instructed, directed, and corrected. The Socratic model encapsulates the mood for all times: “I do nothing but go about persuading you, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of your soul.”

Steve Jobs understood the times: “Management is about persuading people to do things they don’t want to do; leadership is about inspiring people to do things they thought they never could.”

Caveat: the difference between persuasion and manipulation is intent.

“Legislative intent” must mean “legislative purpose.” Nobody is qualified as a statutory intent analyst although many statutory interpreters seek guidance from Hansard. Charlatan persuasion.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.