Abuses of power

From our childhood forward we witness the exercise and abuses of power. The older kid, the tougher kid, the one who owns the ball chooses the game and establishes its rules. The severe teacher metes out punishment to the misbehaving student. At all ages bullies torment the less powerful, physically and psychologically. In war, captors exercise power over their captives, frequently in unspeakably cruel ways. Political leaders wield their power to belittle those who disagree with them and increase the misery of the lives of those less fortunate.

We see abuse of power at every age, every stage of our lives. Now, the courage of its victims today shines a brighter light on the egregious abuses of power of an individual over others in virtually every field of human endeavor: politics, business, entertainment, academic, religious life. I hear the brave voices of those coming forward and feel gratitude for them.

What are we going to do about this? After the passage of decades, I can shrug off the behavior of my older brother and the schoolyard bullies of my childhood with ease. It’s much harder to forgive the shameful behavior of those in public life I had come to trust. I’ll need to work on this.

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