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The Daily Take for Tuesday

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Let’s consider how this applies to today’s political scene.

3 min read

Good morning! I’ve been considering the various stories in the news, wondering if there was a thread that ties some of them together. And it hit me: power.

We all know the saying by Lord Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I don’t think such an outcome is inevitable; not every person who has power of some kind winds up corrupted. For today, though, I want to consider where the saying does seem to apply.

In many locations, Republicans are in charge. They have the power: they can set their own agenda, and proceed to pass it. Having achieved their initial goals, yet still having the power, they have begun casting around for their next goals, their next victims.

And what are they choosing? Persons with less power: women, trans persons, and the poor.

  • Women – Now that they have almost certainly outlawed legal abortion, many Republicans are talking about going after birth control. Why? To further control women's lives. The Pill gave women power, as did other subsequent forms of birth control. Can’t have that; got to dial it back.
  • Trans – Republicans all over the country are passing laws barring trans children and teens from receiving medical treatment related to being trans. Some are even barring counseling related to being trans. And of course, there are the numerous laws barring trans persons from competing in sports. Never mind that state athletic associations already had rules in place dealing with the issue; Republicans swept those aside, saying “We’re in charge here.”
  • The poor – The poor among us are always a favorite punching bag of those in power, but Republicans seem determined to make things even harder: cutting benefits, putting impossible-to-meet rules in place, and “outlawing” homelessness. (Yeah, that’ll work.)

On top of all these examples — and many more — comes the ultimate power play: the coup attempt to keep Donald Trump in power, and begin the process of converting this country from a democracy to an autocracy, with Trump as president-for-life.

Democracies require power sharing to work. Republicans — including those in Frankfort — are ignoring that principle in their quest for more and more power. Along the way, they are picking up people and groups whose thirst for power goes beyond relatively anodyne political aims; instead, these groups want to use power to re-establish a white male power structure, even at the point of a gun.

There’s another quote about power that seems appropriate here: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Republicans have gained power – and across the land, we are seeing the results.


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All for today. Thanks, as always, for reading – and for supporting the work.


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Trump followed a 7-point plan to try to overturn the 2020 election – in other words, to carry out a coup. And the coup attempt is still happening, and still a threat.

And the home page ...

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Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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