May 17, 2015, Prescott- I admit it, I get cheap thrills from watching tv shows where people who abuse their power get a good, hard comeuppance- usually after they try every trick known to man and beast to hold on to that ironclad control. Two shows now current, “A.D.” and “American Odyssey”, focus on criminal geniuses who have amassed great wealth, through nefarious means and the grassroots, loosely tied groups who are working to bring them down.
My guilty pleasure aside, we know what happened with the dastardly Roman elite and its backers in the Jewish Sanhedrin; so, “A.D.”, dramatized as it is, only reinforces the conceptions people have on the persecution of early Christians.
The problem with merely fighting the powerful, without having a clear-cut, well-conceived plan about what comes next, is that we become the powerful, and fall back on the very systems and methods against which we were previously trying to upend. Pete Townshend, in “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, offers a cautionary tale: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.
So it goes, and we have the spiritual descendants of the early Christians, trying their level best to persecute critics of their school policies, in places like Waco, TX- where people trying to implement anti-bullying codes in Christian schools are being even more humiliated by the church establishment, which is working to cover up the incidents. To be fair, there is plenty of blame to go around, among all faiths, in the misuse of power. The depredations of Muslim and Buddhist reactionaries are too many to recount, and atheists, led by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, wrote several volumes on how not to meet the needs of common people.
Power corrupts, and absolute power….. Truth be told, power can only be absolute for a brief period of time. The common folk always find ways to get around it, to erode its base, and, eventually, to show just how illusory the concept actually is. The only true, lasting power is that of love. “Love gives life to the lifeless; hope to the hopeless. In the world of existence, there is no greater power than the power of love.”- ‘Abdu’l-Baha, speaking in London, 1911.
I don’t know how “American Odyssey” will end, but I do know that the end result of a lust for power is, sooner or later, a total loss of power.