Power and the use of it
By Anne Stephenson, of Paraparaumu
( Anne is an author, and former industrial chaplain and Methodist minister)
New Zealand’s Prime Minister has announced his retirement. A shock for New Zealand but it is a time also to reflect. He has used his ‘power’ well regardless of which political persuasion we hold.
As a leader we can be proud of how he has handled relationships and assisted in the good reputation of New Zealand abroad. He has been astute and shown political wisdom.
One cannot but wonder how the international stage is going to look now. It seems to be rather chaotic without clear leadership and ability to steer the ship safely for all. Change seems to be looming and elections next year.
Thank you for going
But thank you John Key for retiring. We will, as a consequence, be looking more clearly as to what our values are as a country.
For no matter who gets in power in the next election, I hope that New Zealand’s integrity as a nation will still show through. However we still have messy areas to clear up, such as a settlement with the injustices of Parihaka, but at least they are on the agenda.
We have a need for a more just country for all levels of society. This will mean equitable housing, equitable health care, equitable income and equitable education.
We are in a good position to address issues, but there will need to be more attention to all the different levels of society, not just an orientation to the wealthy.
How we use our power for the benefit of others is very crucial in today’s society, even our power to vote is a case in point.
The misuse of power
Misuse of power in our homes, schools and society in general, happens when we focus too clearly on our own perceived rights and entitlements.
The “I” within us uses all the air in the room and there is none left over for anyone else. This sense of self is too often upheld at the expense of others. There is a consequence of violence to the body, soul and mind.
We see it in physical and sexual abuse. It can be experienced in bullying. It can be there in the way we ‘gossip’ about others.
We can choose to affirm the dignity and fullness of others even when we disagree with them.
So as a country:
- Do we choose peace and not war?
- Do we choose equality over social stratification?
- Can we hold out opportunity and affirmation for all who work hard for our community?