Posts Tagged ‘addiction to power

10
Aug
09

Speaker of the House

A lot of people say that the Speaker of the House is the fourth most powerful man in the Philippines. I beg to disagree. I think this ranking is only in reference to the order of succession: President – Vice President – Senate President – Speaker of the House. But in terms of influence, the Speaker is probably number two. You see, the Vice President has no real power for as long as the President is alive and capable, and it only takes the collective will of about 13 senators for the Senate President to get replaced. However, to topple the Speaker of the House it will take about 126 congressmen going against him. And it wouldn’t be baseless to say that it takes much less to keep a congressman happy and loyal than to  control a senator, as quite a few of the latter tend to be more statesmanlike (or grandstanding). Most importantly, if the Speaker has the President at his side…

Like the Senate President, the Speaker of the House is in a unique position in the sense that he is voted twice – first by his constituents to make him congressman, and then by his peers to make him Speaker, their primus inter pares, the first among equals. Which is actually only technically equal, because the Speaker has powers unequaled by any of his peers.

To be voted twice – now that must take some really effective politics. And winning the second election will turn a “lowly” congressman into the second most powerful person in the country. Ah, Power. Several months ago I wrote an article titled Power and Addiction and there was a part where I said:

I had often read that Power is the most addictive drug. With “conventional” drugs, you get high for a few hours. With Power, you get high continuously for years. With conventional drugs, you feel like you can do anything you want. With Power, you actually can do anything you want. Then comes the hangover. The crash. I remember a line from the movie Amistad saying that there is nothing more pathetic than a former president. Maybe this is why some people will do everything to stay in power.

Some would willingly sell their souls, and those who don’t believe in souls would gladly run over the bodies of their own children just to gain and regain immense power. It’s really not unlike the meth addict who will do anything for the next fix. In the case of power, the next hit won’t be needed until next year. But as early as now, the “paraphernalia” are already being prepared.

* * * * *

I remember the TV series Commander In Chief where a presidential candidate asks the Speaker of the House to become his running mate, but the Speaker turns him down saying that the Vice Presidency would actually be a demotion for him. (I think he’s right.) So the President gets another running mate, a woman, and they win. However, after two and a half years in office, the President dies of a sudden cerebral aneurysm. Too bad for the Speaker. Who would have thought… Well, I guess in politics we really never know.

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14
Jun
09

Power and Addiction

(First published in January 2009)

One minute I held the key/ Next, the walls were closed on me/ And I discovered that my castles stand/ Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

Those were lines from a Coldplay song about a king who lost his kingdom. I often wonder what it must feel like to be a person of power one minute and an outsider the next. It must be the worst hangover.

I had often read that Power is the most addictive drug. With “conventional” drugs, you get high for a few hours. With Power, you get high continuously for years. With conventional drugs, you feel like you can do anything you want. With Power, you actually can do anything you want.

Then comes the hangover. The crash. I remember a line from the movie Amistad saying that there is nothing more pathetic than a former president. Maybe this is why some people will do everything to stay in power.

Several days ago I saw a picture in the newspaper of the five living US presidents standing side by side, with George W. Bush at the center, Obama and Clinton on either side of him, and Bush Sr. and Jimmy Carter beside them. It was a sight to behold. No matter what it meant to be the most powerful man in the world, these men know and accept that the Presidency is bigger than the President, that it is the Presidency that gives the President his temporary power, and that each of them must pass on the torch that he once clutched tightly from the moment it was passed to him.

Now the old king is dead/ Long live the King! innerminds inner minds




Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues

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