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With Carrying the Mantle of Responsibility, Comes Great Power

Popularity 1Viewed 8165 times 2013-5-12 16:27 |System category:Life| Mantle, Responsibility, Power, Elections, Civic

Last month, my wife and I drove down the local school gym to vote.  We got there, showed our IDs, signed the forms that said we were who we said we were, and took turns voting while we keep eyes on our kids – who enjoyed looking around at the gym, saying ‘Hi’ to the slightly bored poll workers (given the low turnout), and telling them how old they were.  After some issues with the equipment (i.e. paper ballots didn’t want to be fed into the counting machine) and handing out of some stickers, we went about our busy Tuesday morning.


It wasn’t a Federal vote, involving the Presidency or seats in Congress.  It wasn’t a State vote, involving the position of Governor or State Legislation.  No, those usually occur on even number years, between 2 to 6 year cycles.  No, this was ‘local elections’, for the position of Mayor of La Grange Park, where we live, other local positions that were to be had (Board Member of the local library or community college), and/or local proposals that needed a decision on (like the town a couple of miles away that wanted to sell bonds for a new school). 


My wife had been a bit confused about the whole affair, but it was the same type of confusion that is usually found in ‘native born and raised’ citizens as well.  Why?  Because outside of the ‘special’ election to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. position in the U.S. House of Representatives, and a couple of ‘special interest’ stories of someone ‘famous’ running for Mayor or Councilman – the usual media outlets (television, radio, newspaper, etc.) was remarkably quiet during this ‘odd year election’.  Usually if it is not ‘in the news’, people seem not to be aware.


So… what happens when the usual amount of money that is poured in by the two major parties (Democrats and Republicans) is nowhere to be seen?  What occurs is an interesting gambit of small groups or individuals that were ‘drumming up support’ for themselves, through a series of lawn signs, flyers, e-mails, and personal phone calls.  Some of these people are supported by the local levels of the two parties, but most often these folks are left to their own devices.  My wife asked me how these folks were able to do this, and I told her what is not usually covered in most classrooms in the U.S., but should be:  A person only needs to go down to the place that is compiling the ballots for the election to put their name on it, provided they found whatever rules are in place (i.e. proof of who they say they are, fee money etc.).  After that step, it is pretty much a free reign for how to attract voters. 


“But why do it,” my wife asked?  A few things crossed my mind for an answer.  Ego was an immediate, knee-jerk reaction.  A sense of civic duty was more of a romantic answer.  Even the stray thought of an older person that wanted to spend retirement money towards a ‘new job’ came to mind, given the age of most candidates have I seen run over the years.  Then I thought about words of Stan Lee that has been in the lexicon of American culture for the last 50 years or so – “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”. 


Throughout human history, there has always been ‘mantles of responsibility’ that all people wake up every morning and put on – whether it be a mantle that covers personal conduct or signifies additional responsibilities, like raising a child or protecting a city.  Those mantles come with amazing powers as well, like shaping the future of a human being and making sure they ability to enjoy life with reasonable degree of security.  For those that do not pick up their mantles, they are truly powerless, depending on the ‘good will’ of those that have.  But more often than naught, they act like domesticated sheep – bleating their discontent or worry until a shepherd or a wolf appears to deal with them one way or another.


In America, the mantles of responsibility start with basic citizenship – to vote on key issues and to serve in judgment of our fellow citizens.  Additional mantles come with the responsibilities of civil positions, like the police or fire department.  Other mantles come with responsibilities of defense of the country, the army or navy. Each mantle bears the weight of tasks and jobs that the responsibilities outline, but being able to carry them means that you are willing and able to wield power that will affect other people lives, whether it be individually or in a great multitude.  That is abundantly seen with the mantle of elected offices.  It is a mantle that is there for most to pick up, but few do – for whether it be for federal, state, or local office – the mantle weights heavy.  The weight comes from having to deal with having to get to know hundreds, thousands, millions of people – and letting them be able to deal with themselves, for as many times as allowed by law to run for a particular office.


In China… the mantles may have different names, and the paths to attain those mantles contrast to America and elsewhere – but they exist nonetheless.  A person still must purposely choose to carry a mantle, take the responsibility, and wield the power that comes with it.  As with the human condition, there will be those that will not pick up the mantles, and there will be those that will fall under the weight of the mantles they have picked up – whether it be from corruption or simple inability.  But in the end, those that are willing to take the time, the effort, and gain the favor of the people around them will be able to pick their own mantle and make a difference.  Woe be it the individual or group that says mantles are exclusive, or commodities to be hoarded.  More often than naught, those that do only perceive the ‘power’ of a mantle and not the responsibility that comes with it.  It is the mistake that fell many of an Imperial line in China.  For if mantles are not available to be picked up, then a country’s people as a whole will be truly powerless in the face of never ending change that is the world we live in.

A symbol of a mantle picked up

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (4 comments)

Reply Report jiangweinuaa 2013-5-13 17:15
Hi ,can you change your blog's background colour? Now it is very dazzling! Take it easy, just an advice.ths
Reply Report tradervic 2013-5-14 07:31
jiangweinuaa: Hi ,can you change your blog's background colour? Now it is very dazzling! Take it easy, just an advice.ths
Should be white text on a black background - nothing more.
Reply Report tradervic 2013-5-14 07:57
jiangweinuaa: Hi ,can you change your blog's background colour? Now it is very dazzling! Take it easy, just an advice.ths
Okay, I have taken the time to go with black text on a white background - better?
Reply Report jiangweinuaa 2013-5-14 09:02
OK,thank you very much! I am glad that you take my advice!

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