We don’t tend to think well of those who seek power. There’s the old wisdom about how power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There’s the Douglas Adams quote about the people who want to rule being those least suited to do it. The trouble with this is that it actually supports the status quo and the feeling that we just have to accept that unpleasant people will end up in charge.
I’ve sought power in all kinds of situations. At the moment, I’m mostly too bloody tired to try and run anything, but that’s the main reason I’m not stepping forward. I’m not afraid to try and lead, and I’m not in the least bit ashamed of my motives. Yes, obviously there’s a kick to be had from making things go, setting the direction, having people pile in to do what you said. It’s important to acknowledge that, and I don’t think it’s inherently a bad thing.
My interest in power has always been about getting stuff done. I’m attracted to opportunities that are going to lift and enable people. I ran a folk club to give people a space to grow their skills and enjoy each other’s creativity, and we put on gigs and supported professional performers and that was great. I’ve run mumming sides and singing groups as a way to get more good stuff out there. I’ve run rituals. I’ve thrown my lot in with other groups as well. For me, power is about the power to get stuff done. I’m interested in getting to do the kinds of things that cheer and lift people.
Here on the internet I have a small amount of power. I have enough blog and social media followers to have some kind of impact. And so I review books, amplify other voices, speak up around issues I care about. Wherever I can, I use what power I have to get things done.
Power without an agenda is going to be tedious. What’s the point in acquiring power if you can’t use it to improve things? I have a hard time of it understanding the people who want the power to make other people miserable. I think you’d have to be a sad sort of life form to get anything out of that.
Everyone has some power. Many people have more power than they think. When people combine their power, the scope to get things done can be tremendous. Take power. Make a noise. Take up space. Help other people stand in their power. Use your power to lift those who need a hand. Don’t be ashamed of being powerful and don’t assume that being powerful makes you a bad person. The idea that being small and unassuming is virtuous just helps keep the power in the hands of those who do not use it well.