"The good want power, but to weep barren tears.
The powerful goodness want: worse need for them.
The wise want love, and those who love want wisdom;
And all best things are thus confused to ill."
- Prometheus Unbound
Alexis de Tocqueville once said that democracy is an equation which balances freedom and equality on each side of the calculation.
Yet power, a principle constant in the equation for democracy, expresses as the variables of the human heart, of the passion, of the struggle for freedom, of corruption, of hatred, and of much human evil, consents the weak who coerces the strong to their level—power “reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom.”
Power, reduces nonviolence to the power of violence; it reduces the struggle of a spiritual means to badly composed anger and frustrations as graffiti on blighted walls. Power reduces the way of life meant for greater things to a struggle of physical means; it transforms the coercive power of the politics to the accepted fashionable norms that sells.
We live life trying to tip the scale of this power, but we live to learn the scale is welded to the cunning illusions of the last running of the bulls.
When the bulls are in their pens, prisoners held in conglomerate profit wells, when the equation of democracy seemed almost balanced, when progress is made, the variables controlled, when it becomes too difficult for the oppressed to defend their independence against the aggression of that power, power becomes a separating force—the ones coerced to power will shift the game to their favor, align themselves with the status quo, allows the coercion and oppression to continue.
The reality is that no one in power is strong enough to fight absolute Power, absolute Power exists. Yet we see very little of the combination of forces—a combination that is our only guarantee of liberty we have in the presence of despotism—absolute Power.
Despotism has taken root in our modern democracy; the tyrants of the past who could only exert a pernicious influence on a small group of people at a given time has now been transformed into a multitude of men, men of equals; men constantly circling for petty pleasures, unaware of their fellow citizens. The multitude of men have subjected themselves to the will of a powerful state which exerted an immense protective power over the institutions that was once meant to transform power but now aims to protect only itself.
Consequently, absolute Power sits idle and thoroughly enjoys the show. The once unequal is now an ally of the Power that be, with the people of a democracy beneath its feet; it is now in servitude of the inequality in freedom that dominates this land of the free.
What an irony. The oppressed, society’s perpetual children, are doomed to the ghettos, to the affirmative actionable mentality that tells them they are unequal, to the welfare checks that perpetuates the forever hold on their souls.
The preachers, who do not aim to break men's wills but rather guides them, preside over them as if all oppressed are just flocks of timid animals; that it is God's mission for these now in power, to hold the underprivileged in their warmth of lies, to give them not strength nor unity, but gives, instead, flattery words that helps them coerce their children into nothing new.
Still, as the persevering enemy of despotism everywhere, and under all its forms, I am pained and astonished by the fact that the freest people in the world is, at the present time, almost the only one among civilized and Christian nations which yet maintains personal servitude; and this while serfdom itself is about disappearing, where it has not already disappeared, from the most degraded nations of Europe.
An old and sincere friend of America, I am uneasy at seeing Slavery retard her progress, tarnish her glory, furnish arms to her detractors, compromise the future career of the Union which is the guaranty of her safety and greatness, and point out beforehand to her, to all her enemies, the spot where they are to strike. As a man, too, I am moved at the spectacle of man's degradation by man, and I hope to see the day when the law will grant equal civil liberty to all the inhabitants of the same empire, as God accords the freedom of the will, without distinction, to the dwellers upon earth.
Alexis de Tocqueville.
Power may have helped Americans overthrow the old-world aristocracy and new-world Jim Crows; but while the American culture promoted a relatively pronounced equality, it also promoted mediocrity. The passionate, the educated, the intelligent—those with the desire to make a change for this generation—faced with limited social choices blindly: they either join limited intellectual circles of academic or other contemplative realms to explore the complexities of the issues, or they use their passion, their talent, their intelligence, to take advantage of America's growing obsession with profits, fortunes, and the new power in private. The middle grounds do not exist, we live divided in more than one forms. The omnipotence of the Tocquevillian majority rule is a chief factor in such stifling of thinking:
The majority has enclosed thought within a formidable fence. A writer is free inside that area, but woe to the man who goes beyond it, not that he stands in fear of an inquisition, but he must face all kinds of unpleasantness in every day persecution. A career in politics is closed to him for he has offended the only power that holds the keys.
The people in power today are too weak, powerlessly the powerful, swept up in something that they could not control—something they could not see; they have been swept up either into jails or into established institutions as the servants of the unequal in a free society.
Tocqueville once called America’s racial inequality the "most formidable evil threatening the future of the United States." Today's black ghettos and conglomerate churches and jails attest to Tocqueville’s prophecy. Today’s corporations, political machines, and institutions keep those who are trying to accomplish something outside of the system isolated, divided, confused; many of them branded undesirable individuals, expatriated from the places where they can make the most impact.
People like KRS-One, Erykah Badu, and Talib Kweli, may sing songs to tell their tales, but who is listening?
Your history is too rigid, too objective, too much in conformity to what the Power would like to watch on its private stage. The story tellers awoke to become the lion without a tooth; what tomorrow brings hidden beneath the institutionalized bibles, the lion without a roar.
Americans idealizes individualism, but its people often confuse the concept with things they can own. Can anyone truly own his or her own individualism? Or is the community that recognizes the individual’s power in the collective efforts thus giving rise to the individualism that is enshrined?
Individualism is not a failure, anarchy is not a dirty word; both are ways of thinking about things which could have either positive consequence such as a willingness to work together, or negative consequences such as isolation. The hidden treasure of a new empowerment is with the distinction we do not make; the distinction could be remedied by improved the understanding of their context used. When individualism seen as a positive force it prompts people to work together for common purposes; when seen as self-interest in such a thing as property rights and consumerism, it helps to reinforces the tyranny of the majority.
Modern democracy has invented new forms of tyranny, radical equality have led to the materialism of an expanding bourgeoisie and to the selfishness of individualism. Under these conditions we have lost interests in the future of our children; we are merely allowing ourselves to be led in ignorance by a despotic force all the more powerful because it does not resemble the evil ones in our past.