Power is a curious force. We read about Wellington and Admiral Nelson, or on this side of the pond, we learn about George Washington, Robert E. Lee, and General Ulysses S. Grant. They were all powerful men to be sure. Still, where would a great general be without his soldiers?
We the people are the true greatest power on earth. Consider the teacher in the classroom, teaching children to read, do math and express themselves. No wonder politicians think we have a crisis in education. Those common, underpaid, over worked citizens hold in their classrooms the power to topple the most powerful political regime simply by educating the children in their care to think and to reason. Knowledge is a very dangerous thing.
Think about the common builder who holds the power and knowledge to build a house or a whole community of homes. He can actually create something of lasting value to the community. Any bully can destroy, but true power lies with those who create and build something that lasts beyond their lifetime.
In the eighties, a musician in Russia got an idea. I’m not certain I ever learned his name. He composed an hour long program of music for children. He joined with more common people and found funding. He found the children of common citizens and taught them his music. They traveled the world singing with children from the countries they visited. In Seattle, my daughter sang with this group as about four hundred children took to the stage to sing about peace, hope and loving your neighbor. This was at the height of the cold war when our President was spending trillions on a star wars program capable of destroying the Soviet Union. That is, while the power elite set about destroying economies and promoting the misery of many people, the children where changing hearts and giving people hope for the future. I’ll vote for the children as the greater power.
When you sit back and think about it, you will realize that the common people of this world are busy as an ant hill creating beauty and new technologies. All the power elite in all of history have not created the change created by common, often lazy, people finding a better way to do a tedious job. It is the labor of thousands of ordinary citizens that build our airplanes, grow our food, make our roads and read our novels that keep civilization intact. How many people go to work in the morning to labor at a job then come home to garden, knit cook and tinker in the garage. The power of all those busy people is a force to be reckoned with and feared by the destructive bullies of our world.
So what do we the people do with our power? Too often we sit back and ignore the bullies as they go about destroying communities and spreading fear. We can do better.
First we need to decide whose side we are on. Do we want to hang with the bullies and spread fear, hate and destruction? A large section of our population does.
At the end of the day, I can only conclude that the common builders, laborers, teachers, poets, architects, tinkerers and writers have the greatest power. Choosing to build is not always easy when the fear is thick around us. It takes real courage to choose not to give in to the fear. It takes real determination to educate oneself. It takes wisdom to listen to other’s opinions without prejudice. In the end it takes the power of the humble person to choose the path of the builder.
A social psychologist, Delinda McCann has dedicated her life to making this a better world. You can find her books at http://www.amazon.com/Delinda-McCann/e/B00785DSMW