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Home  > Article

The Trouble with Power

By Arleen Kaptur

Power is an important part of government, but as this article suggests, checks and balances are necessary to make sure power is used properly.

Power is by itself a very powerful word. In fact, in many advertisements,
using "power" gives the reader the feeling that this product will do
things that are not capable of being accomplished by ordinary means. There
are power this, and power that. But what about power when it comes to
individuals, governments or groups? What does power do and mean in these
circumstances?

Power is given to enable certain entities to go beyond the ordinary use of
whatever is being deemed necessary. You have the power of attorney, the
power of the courts, and the power of the government. One aspect of power,
however, is that it is addictive and this is where the problems usually
start. When an individual whether in government or not is given power,
they succomb to the ideal that they are "above" even those who have
relegated this power to them. In essence, they are the servants of the
ones delegating this additional authority. But given time and momentum,
more power is sought and more unique ways of obtaining it are contrived.
Power is likened to the yeast in a dough. It rises, but needs to be
punched down in order to get the required results. However, if this one
step is not taken, then the product mushrooms into a life all its own and
its containment becomes more difficult.

Any type of power needs to have checks and balances, especially in
government. Not one individual or team of individuals should be given
"free reign" to do whatsoever and to whomever they desire. Not a single
person should be given a taste of unchecked might because inevitably, it
will go to their heads that they are "clouds above" those who originally
bestowed this power. Ideals of kingship, and "above the law" mentality
will thrive if there are no constraints. Then, the real issue of who is
"handling" who comes into play. Does the horse run the cart, or does the
cart tell the horse what and where to go? When there is a situation where
power has been given to an individual because of certain circumstances,
then there must definitely be given a means for the power to be removed,
restrained, or curtailed. If not, there is anarchy and danger written all
over this. People will be people and human nature will cause the "poweree"
to feel that the world is their oyster and everyone in it is to do their
bidding. They do not have to ask, or seek assistance, information, or even
strength except what they have under their leadership. They will, and this
has been illustrated in history over and over again, that power leads to
power greed and then corruption. No one person in any situation or cir-
cumstance should be without being "answerable" to another person or group
whose job it is to keep this power in the proper authority and scope.
Without this safeguard, you have an individual who will take upon
himself/herself the feeling that they are and therefore they act. No
questions, ands or buts are offered, only complete authority and
punishment or banishment to those who try and draw in some of the true
meaning of the power that was bestowed in the first place.

Many countries from Rome to Germany, and yes, even our own country are
battling power. When a politician can cut down and ignore the demands of
those who brought him/her to the position they enjoy, they are power-sick.
When a government official can bypass laws and restraints that every
single individual must attest to, then they are power-sick. There is,
however, a remedy but it is not without its problems. Removal of the power
is absolutely necessary, but consequences will be forthcoming and the
initial problem that the power was given in the first place will look mild
when compared to the outcry and pure tantrum of the one who senses that
their power might be contained.

If power whether human or otherwise is not checked and kept in working
order, then havoc and destruction will take place. In fact, it may take
all the might of the world to bring it to its proper perspective and when
this comes into play, well then, damage assessment will not be kind and
many will be drawn into the vacuum of the dust of the one who lost
perspective and common sense. Yes, power is addictive and it can prove
deadly. Handle with caution and make sure that all safeguards are set into
place. An explosion of major proportion should be avoided but many times
cannot due to the greed, corruption and pure "evil" that power can bring
into reality. Giving power - but not without thinking it clearly and
checking it closely. Human beings have not quite worked out the kinks of
power greed and the falling into the pitfalls of the pride of going before
the fall. Just hope that there are not too many standing under when the
fall occurs because it won't be kind.

?

Arleen is the owner of A & J Northwoods, a gourmet food, book, and gift
shop. She has written numerous stories and articles regarding living on
purpose and enjoying every minute of it.







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