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On power and people

It seems to me that the powerful fall into two categories.

The first crave power and pursue it, crushing anyone who threatens their power, metaphorically if not occasionally literally. Donald Trump, his political appointees, and many in our Congress fit this first category.

The second have power thrust upon them, often unwillingly, and they struggle to do the best they can with what power they’ve been given. They may fail, and often do, but it’s not because they didn’t try to do the right thing.

This split occurs not only in the highest offices of the land, but at all levels of society.

In office politics.

On your local school board.

On the city council.

In the Mayor’s office.

At the state capital.

Over my life I’ve observed this split and experienced it in my own small part of the world. I have met those whose pursuit of some amount of relative power drove them to claim the successes of others as their own, stepping on others to achieve what relative power they could.

And I’ve seen those who found themselves with power who used it to protect those under them, to help others. To build people up rather than tear people down.

The people I’ve met from the first category have taught me that, of all the people in the world, those who crave power the most are the ones who should never be allowed to possess it.

And the people I’ve met from the second category have taught me that, however often or badly they may fail, the people who truly don’t seek power (rather than merely pretend not to) are the only people truly worthy of wielding it.

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