I prefer not to dally too long dissecting the symptoms of manifested underlying ills, but prefer to look directly at those broad reaching paradigms or beliefs that inform them, as regular readers here know...Because if we all are truly interested in forming an ongoing conversation that cuts away the the husk of empty discourse and scoops out the Essential, we have to look not only at the symptoms of hate, violence, authoritarian rule, and oppression, but at the seeds that inform them and keep them entrenched, as well as socially acceptable. These vines are by now thorny and tangled and hearty, but the seeds were planted long ago, and the nourishment is delivered by all of us, and every day.As we once again begin to hear claims that President Obama is weak due to his recent decision to go to Congress about taking military action against Syria, I can't help but recall that those charges have often in the past been coupled with statements about how he needs to "man up" or "grow a set of balls." In other words, his so-called "weakness" is often conflated with being too feminine (as if that was something really bad). So it likely contains what Nezua referred to as a "nexus."
As I've written about before, I find that nexus in a conflation of power with dominance. Whether we're talking about male dominance over female, white dominance over people of color, or US dominance over the world...all power is defined as having power over others. And anyone who doesn't wield that kind of power is weak.
Until we as liberals break from that perspective in our own minds and lives, we will have nothing but the masters tools to use in our struggle for change. That is why I think President Obama's overriding message is bound up in asking us to unleash the power of "we." He's talking about wielding the power of partnership.
That is anything BUT a show of weakness.
Another important distinction is that between leadership and domination. Effective leaders facilitate the interdependence or collaboration that can create more "power to" -- based on the interests of all parties. Domination is the exercise of "power over" --a relationship that meets interests of the "power wielder" at the expense of everyone else.Its a way out of the authoritarian embrace of an imperial presidency. It is a call towards the ongoing work to perfect our union as a government of, by, and for ALL the people. It is a statement to the world that the United States is ready to leave the failed policies of subjugating others for our own interests and move towards a foreign policy based on partnership. It will require all of us to expand our moral imagination. But it is also about how one voice can change the world. Its how "we become the change we want to see."
- Marshall Ganz