The chief goal of almost all elected officials, clergymen, CEOs, talent agents, executive vice-presidents, district managers, assistant managers, and onward down the chain of command, is to lord power over others. One can detect a quasi-sexual glee in the ministrations and machinations of those who can affect the lives of others. To the power-holder, the ability to say “no” is an aphrodisiac.
Our prayer is that the lords of power might discover the transcendent joy in saying “yes.” When one has acquired power, whether through diligence, obsequiousness, or good old fashioned Machiavellian underhandedness, the urge, it seems, is to wield it cruelly. How liberating, how wondrous, to use that power to help people who need you. Not only does the world suddenly seem a nicer and more hopeful place, generosity of spirit, according to our sacred texts, is what God wants of us. This essential imperative has been perverted by our pastors and senators, our governors and school boards, all of whom view their positions of influence as something like divine rights.
All of us — even the lowly plebes who lord power over no one but our children and housepets — can do better. We can make a conscious effort to use whatever power we hold to brighten someone’s day, not crush it.