Liberia: Senator Dillon – A Man at the Centre of Integrity, Public Perception cum Dwindling Morale
Nearly 19 months ago when we sought to equate Senator Abraham Darius Dillon to some of the finest advocates in the pursuit of social justice the world over, our commentary was greeted with outright mixed feelings. We went neck-to-neck with a childhood friend and comrade who had vehemently disagreed with our candid perspectives. In was an exchange not necessarily aimed at defending Darius Dillon, but one which had pigeon-holed the Montserrado Senator in a sphere never heard of in the history of the Liberian Senate, which for the most part has been a rubber-stamped arm of Liberia’s Republican form of Government.
By Ekena Wesley, [email protected], Contributing Writer
When Abraham Darius Dillon announced to the good people of Liberia and the world at large that he politically symbolizes the LIGHT, it took the powerful media – including FrontPage Africa to religiously herald the Senator’s aggressive advocacy. FPA, like all of Liberia’s emerging pluralistic media landscape, variously covered Dillon as he spread the gospel of the ‘LIGHT.’ Stunning darkness had blunted our entire life ranging from social, political, economic, infrastructure, tourism, education, health, science, and technology. The hopes for some kind of messiah seemed to have faded away. Liberians have simply been electing leaders and perhaps we’re not sure what the outcome would be due to mistrust.
Critics of Darius Dillon took him for a joke as his sermon went viral in the political wilderness, apparently underestimating the power of the people in the midst of frustration, mistrust and neglect. Dillon aggressively campaigned and poignantly heralded the doctrine of ‘integrity, probity, accountability and transparency.’ His message resonated across the broad spectrum and although we are not sure if the masses saw Dillon as another Messiah but his messaging appealed to hearts and minds. Dillon simplified his message. He told Liberians in Clara, West Point, Doe Community, Logan Town, New Kru Town among others that when their taxes are effectively put to proper use – our schools would be competitive, the referral hospitals would serve the needs of Liberians and sermonized that when our systems are made and seen to be working, we would all benefit.
Darius Dillon sought to do the unthinkable or perhaps the undoable. He told Liberians that their lawmakers’ salaries were exorbitant and there was a compelling need to reduce such benefits or take-home pay. Dillon had become the odd number on Capitol Hill. He became a lone political crusader but seemed thrivingly unrepentant! Liberians then gravitated to him for his beliefs on social justice – that impunity should not have a place in our country.
What do the masses think of a man who a few months ago was crusading as one with clean hands that must come with equity? In this context, the masses reflect a cross-section. First, we must take into account those CDC surrogates that want Dillon taken to the gallows and the Montserrado County senator’s supporters who remain hopeful, illusive or dumbfounded. Senator Darius Dillon represents the people of Montserrado cum Liberia. However, what Liberians think or reckon about the way Senator Dillon conducts himself is essentially key to how they form various thoughts. If Dillon pontificates he is the LIGHT; it must be reflected in truth and spirit. Let his ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and his ‘no’ constitute ‘no.’
In the hopelessness of the coloration of the National Legislature viz-a-viz its utter lack of patriotism coupled with sheer neglect and abandonment, it is somehow unthinkable that something good might even come out of Nazareth. That’s the tough cum herculean battle that Abe Darius Dillon has brought upon himself. But Harry Truman said: “If you don’t like heat, stay out of the kitchen.” The tempestuous Liberian political heat is ostensibly Darius Dillon’s wahala. He will for a long time face such an unavoidable nightmare.
Let the word go forth Senator Dillon that when you set upon this task to do the exceptional, you clearly understand the risk and implications after all. When thousands of people decided to place their hopes in you, they did so because those before you had led by disappointing examples. The shift in allegiance does not mean you are the only Liberian with some semblance of love for the country. There were options! The masses decided to experiment with you based on your advocacy. Mind you, the Liberian people saw great, distinguished cum fireburn progressive leaders of yester years. The message of the ‘haves versus have nots’ cannot be entirely construed as any new political gospel as it were. What our country needs or is yearning for at this crucial juncture goes beyond mere words; we crave for men and women of scruples who would patriotically put the interest of our country above all other considerations.
Whether Dillon thinks he is doing his best pursuant to his LIGHT campaign; it is outside his purview to measure the scale or draw up a barometer as to his performance. If Senator Dillon unintentionally urinates at the back of his house as compared to a little known neighbor, Dillon makes the headlines. Why! The senator should live by example. To urinate in any area not designated for such purpose whether ‘intentionally or unintentionally’ is a public nuisance. Senator Abe Dillon no longer has a private life. He is a public figure who is expected to lead by examples for the ordinary citizen to follow.
The brouhaha between Senator Dillon and FPA on account of being truthful – borders on integrity, which the Montserrado senator espouses for if you may. Dillon’s Achilles’ Heels was his premature and unguided hasty Facebook response regarding whether he flew Economy or Business/First Class. What was even more ill-conceived was Dillon’s decision to voluntarily put his e-Ticket code into the public domain. An upgrade from an Economy Class e-Ticket between Accra to US via Delta Airlines as researched by FrontPage Africa is a damning scar on Liberia’s crusading senatorial LIGHT. What manner of man would choose to tell a damn lie when his LIGHT shouldn’t be going dim? Over the last couple of months, the senator has been in the spotlight for all the right social justice crusading reasons.
Whatever the dwindling morale deficit the Montserrado Senator – Abe Darius Dillon faces is a result of a faulty and sadly irrational construct borne out of emotional outburst. Dillon had no business further exposing himself to stray bullets. Of course, he has played into the hands of his critics and regime enablers. The visit was a private one! How Senator Dillon uses his personal resources to his own benefit is at his discretion. But to engage in a campaign of reckless misinformation is unwarranted, unacceptable and out of order. Next time, a pointless fight with an investigative newspaper should be a non-starter! To date, Dillon has his image to fix or mend.
For now, it is up to Dillon to redeem his political life but at the same time if the senator is genuinely committed to upholding integrity, transparency, accountability and probity – the onus is on him to remain consistent and let his ‘no’ remain the ‘no’ all and sundry will identify you with.