There have always been social problems in every societies –and there will always be. But I wonder why has there been so many wide spread social problems in my generation. Everywhere in Liberia today hearts are empty: from one problem to another, between parents and children, husbands and wives, leaders and their people, and old and young. Morality has been paralyzed and the system of education continues to deteriorate. So, what went wrong? In this article I am going to discuss these two aspects of our social lives which I see as becoming social problems in our society. In part one of these discussions I am going to discuss the moral aspect and in part two, I will discuss the educational aspect.
It is normal and wholesome and good when the young are taught to respect age, and on the other hand the older generation, assuming the responsibilities that come with age and experience and wisdom, understand the young and guide and support them without faltering. However, when this bond is distorted and becomes dysfunctional, blown up out of proportion, and even misused, it becomes an unhealthy and abnormal situation. This is what is happening today. The older generation in some ways or another is not showing/setting good example if the younger generation is to follow. When the older generation sees the long hair and yet cannot tell between the kids and the adults under it, when you see an old folk throwing banana peelings and water plastics in the streets, without hesitating, then something is wrong with the system –this is what is happening in our society today. One former senator put it clearly, “Age means nothing when you cannot exemplify the responsibilities that come with it.”
In Liberia today, nobody is afraid of doing wrong. If we check carefully, we will possibly find that five out of every seven persons in this country deserved to be in jail. This applies to the market woman who sells rice from a cup which is less than a measurement cup, to the man who sold a bag of rice to her which turns out to be less than a 50kg or 25kg. It goes to government officials who would find it difficult to provide reason, even to their spouses, as to how come their salary of less than $500 USD managed to accumulate expenditures worth $5,000USD every month. It also goes to the business expatriates carrying checks around to collect money from government ministry or agency for goods apparently delivered which, in reality, have never entered this country, and to the concessionaires who bid for concession agreement, with names of companies which, in actuality do not exist.
This brings our discussion to the moral aspect of our society. In discussing this, I am going to say something which many of the older generation will not agree with, but which I have felt long time. Moral bond, when blown up out of proportion, and even misused, would be refers to moral dysfunction or moral breakdown. In other words, when the moral bond that holds people together as society becomes vague and dysfunctional, weak and decayed, then social problems abound.
Liberia today is a place of struggle –survival of the fittest –only the strong survive –no one care to know as to what happen to whom. Everywhere you turn there is the emptiness evident; the lack of purpose and meaning; the tragic failure of our educational system which seems more and more to alienate the youth and consequently anger their parents; the overriding social problems that have no foreseeable solutions; the failure of parents to live by what they preach; and the failure of our governments to understand that the basic problems facing the nation is not economic, but social. It is a sheer hypocrisy for the older generation to ask the young to refrain from getting high on marijuana and alcohol while they persists in getting stoned on liquors; it is also sheer hypocrisy for the older generation to say the young are damaging their future while they persist on exploiting them with dollars. Put another way, in Liberia, the constitution forbid person under age eighteen to vote for reason that same person cannot make an informed decision. How then can this person know that he/her is damaging his/her future? In order to bridge this moral decadent or dysfunction in our society, realistically, honestly, it is no doubt that you as parents, are going to have to practice what you preach by striving more and more to bring your conduct into line with your code of beliefs. Let’s face the facts, no mother, absolutely no mother can demand that her daughter abstain from sleeping around when she herself is flirting and on occasion compromising her own moral conduct, and that her daughter should cease from wearing miniskirt when she herself is constantly procuring them. No father, who engages in heavy social drinking, and who cannot speak a pleasant word in the morning until he has had a cigarette, can yell at his son to get off marijuana and alcohol, the route that often lead to substance abuse and drunkenness. Consistency, constancy, and undeviating diligence to maintain Godly character are a must if the order generation is to command respect or even a hearing from the young.
The church, too, is at fault in turning from Biblical proclamation to political activism. The Bible says “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.” Too many times clergies get involve in political matters rather than Biblical issue. I am not preaching now, I am not a preacher, neither a prophet nor a judge. I am just trying to give you understanding of what is obtaining in our society today.
(The above statement should not be seen as an affront to the Christian churches. The word church here is used just for singularity; it encompasses all religions in this country).