Re-post from esi ’08 – on voting

A Price Worth Paying – esi, ‘08

A price worth paying, and a sacrifice worth making …
A bride worth waiting for, and a flavour worth savouring …
A Good worth buying – its benefits priceless …
A journey worth taking, destination unknown …

An altar where self must die and nation arise
A place where comfort must retreat, and unflinching resolve proceed
A place where sweat runs freely, pacified by weary cotton friends
A place where calories are tested, coursing through excited veins
A place where tempers can soar up high, crest and explode
A place where human lava can boil, and volcanoes erupt
A place where nothing is free, where the currency is life itself
A marketplace called democracy, a place where we rise

Better than war, and troubled sirens
Better than the screams of innocent children
Better than guns, booms and bombs
Better than fires, smoking embers and tear gas
Better than big, ruthless dogs on the prowl
Better than heartache, pain and death
Better than refugees with nothing, and yet great a load
Better than oppression, suppression and confusion
Better than all the ‘shuns’ that shun peace
Better than the alternative – chaos unleashed

A marketplace for sharing dreams
A marketplace for hawking ideas
A marketplace for trading talents
A marketplace for finding comrades
A marketplace where nation rises
A marketplace where me and you are fused into us
Sojourners for the common good, destination unknown …

I started writing this piece while standing in line to cast my vote. I heard people (including myself sometimes) complain – the queue was long; the sun was hot; they didn’t start on time; the people were tired; there was no shade; the rules weren’t clear; the process was cumbersome; etc etc,… and several times, people tried to make things easier – offers to get me a seat, move me up the line etc etc., but I realized how little a price, it was to pay … a small price for democracy — a small sacrifice compared to those who struggled to make this freedom real, and those who laid their lives down for the cause. As I stood there, I thought of freedom fighters from around the world and different eras … in our own minute ways, those who are willing to endure the ‘pain’ of election processes are the new freedom fighters – those who will do what is right and good, suffer just a little for it, and allow the interest of the nation to overshadow their comfort. Yes, we are the new freedom fighters – our first step in demonstrating our resolve to dare – to dare to do things differently and to set the right example, and prepared to pay a price for an invaluable commodity. Anyway … before I get carried away … it was a price worth paying. A minute sacrifice in the face of greater losses that others have endured.
Note: Esi Ansah is an entrepreneur, a business coach, and on faculty at Ashesi University. Her blog can be found at this link. The ’08 election inspiring her was in Ghana. It seems fitting for America’s election tomorrow as well as for Ghana’s election next month.

5 responses to “Re-post from esi ’08 – on voting

  1. 7:50 a.m. GMT in Ghana and I feel a world apart from being among “my people” today, America’s election day. I’m in a limbo space — I’m already at work (here in Ghana) yet American polling places are still hours from opening (there in American). When I go to sleep tonight, Americans will still be voting, plausibly even on the east coast. I’ll set an alarm to wake at 3 a.m. and see how the results are coming along, then perhaps again at 5 a.m. when I normally rise more information will be available.

    4 years ago during the elections, I was teaching in Southwestern’s London study abroad program. I remember the similar limbo of time zones, though somehow felt closer to the information…perhaps a factor of BBC. But I’ve heard stories from faculty here (Ghana) that they did here what I did in London in 2008, wake about 2 or 3 a.m. (GMT) and gather to watch and listen. In London by 5 a.m., I was wrapped in a blanket in my dark flat listening simultaneously to the pre-dawn silence of a cosmopolitan city and to the acceptance speech of a man who was making history thousands of miles away and yet somehow also very proximal in that place called home.

  2. 8:30 p.m. GMT, a full day of teaching and learning at Ashesi and it’s only lunch time in California. We’re watching the television where the Ghanian vice-presidential debates are being broadcast live, and just finished with the BBC’s world round up telling us there will be news about the American elections in “just a few hours.”

    Time to sleep in Ghana so I can wake at 4 a.m. GMT and hear how things are going in America around their 11 p.m. ET evening news.

    I suppose what matters is what’s in front of any of us at any given time. After all, a special friend turns 10 today; that is a genuinely big day.

  3. Just after 5 a.m. GMT. Woke an hour ago and needed a light sweater as I listened to BBC radio deciding whether to get out of bed and turn on the television. Now an hour later, it’s still dark, but the day already warming and I’ve had to shed the sweater. Dawn approaching, and the roosters are crowing.

    Electoral college votes have been called for Obama and popular vote nearly even. The electoral college system seemed strange to a Ghanaian at lunch yesterday when he realized it is a “winner take all” per state system when here (Ghana), it’s a one-person-one-vote system.

    BBC focus is on the divided nation. The amount of time required to build international relations is being discussed regionally, nation by nation. Speculation focused on implications for global world. I wonder what stories I’m hearing that differ from the stories being told in the .U.S.

  4. Pingback: What’s your experience of the American election? | Collaborative Worlds

  5. Pingback: Peace as a process | Collaborative Worlds

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