When a fish swallows the hook it has a cruel ending.
Instead of piercing its cartilaginous lip, if the fish actually swallows the bait the hook is ingested and reeling it in causes the sharp point to poke through the lining of its stomach. Once this happen the malicious barb at the end of the hook puts up fierce resistance to coming out.
Even using needle nose pliers in an attempt to delicately disengage the barb usually doesn’t prevent bits and pieces of the poor creature’s insides from returning on the hook. Sometimes a big glob of entrails follows the hook up as if pulling the fish inside out.
When we swallow our pride it hooks tender vulnerabilities and pierces the walls of old wounds, and up come our innards for public display. I imagine there are a bunch of Democrat Senators and Governors, along with a few Republican ones, feeling it in the gut after the mid-term election here in the United States. But truly, it should not be so.
Our government, on every level, should be run as a team of people with common concern who see themselves as subbing in and out for teammates rather than winning or losing to opponents. Instead of good stewards of power we have gluttonous hoarders of power.
Power is a resource requiring wise and effective stewardship rather than accumulation and coercion.
That sounds naïve, I realize. It makes me vulnerable to a charge of First Degree Pollyannaism. Nonetheless, I stand by it. If we cannot envision and talk about power in other than Darwinian terms then we are doomed to continue repeating our past.
One definition of power is, the ability to influence change.
Good stewardship of those abilities includes a wide range of behaviors and strategies but one thing “good” stewardship does not include is self-aggrandizement. Our political system is steeped in the wine of self-aggrandizement and the disease of a winner-take-all mentality. It is difficult to find anyone on the Left (which in this country is actually mildly left of center) or the Right (which in this country can be as far right as neo-fascism) that does not believe our current way of governing is rotten to the core. Our primitive view of power is a root cause.
Honestly, I do not know how to change it. But I do know that until we see and believe in an alternative vision of power, none will appear. We need to begin talking about the stewardship of power and evaluating the behavior we see based upon criteria that leads to the common good rather than to the exclusive benefit of power-holders.
Let’s start talking about the stewardship of power and maybe our conversation will leak out into the open. Stranger things have happened.
©R Cameron Miller