Elections and Ebola

Liberia is currently hemmed between commitments to constitutional conformity and concern for public well-being. Both are important. The fight against Ebola is important, and demands our total attention. At the same time, our constitution calls for regular elections, a key feature of our nascent democracy. Navigating this delicate balance is where our government and politicians find themselves.

It is critical that our leaders investigate their own motives for constitutional compliance in a time of Ebola. It cannot and must be that we are complaint because it sends the right message to the international community – important as that might be. Our compliance cannot be based on a desire to save face. It cannot just be about public image, because holding elections while Ebola kills our compatriots has to be about us, and only us. It has to be about our collective future.

I hope we use this platform to teach our children that democracy is so important – existentially indispensable. That those who will inherit the legacy of our democracy deserve to know that nothing, not even Ebola, can or should curtail our values. That we, as a people, will defend democracy with our very lives.

On the other hand, Ebola has already demonstrated its vicious nature. Our temerity to hold elections in a time of Ebola should not cause us to slack. We must remain vigilant. We must keep our eyes keenly focused on Ebola, and continue to devote all necessary resources to mitigate its wrath. It cannot be a case of one eye on Ebola and one eye on elections. No, it must be both eyes on elections and both eyes on Ebola. We can do both, and we must do both. The lessons for posterity are invaluable. Let’s show our children we are capable of doing something big, and doing it right.

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