In class we discussed what power is, and how it is exercised. Dr. J was adamant about reminding us that someone can not possess power, but it left me wondering if power is real, or if power is merely a perception. I can understand that power is not like money because one does not physically have power, but I never thought about whether power was real, or merely something we have created in our minds. Using examples such as George W. Bush, our parents, and ever our teachers maybe I can help myself, and others, to understand what power is.
For the last 7 (almost 8) years George W. Bush has been viewed as one of the most powerful men on in the world. However when our country elects a new president, George Bush will no longer be in this position of power. As the president, Mr. Bush has the power to veto a bill and declare a war, among other things. However each individual has the ability to say “veto” or “I declare war upon…” The only difference between us and President Bush is the idea that he has power over us.
Furthermore we have our parents who exercise a great deal of power over us. However my parents are not powerful merely because they are John and Liz Collins, rather because of the position they hold. Even more so, they are not able to exercise power over me because they are my parents, but because I allow them to. They control the household in which I grew up in, what I did on the weekends, what clothes I could wear, and when I could use the computer. As regular people removed from the situation, parents are just regular people, however we as children perceive our parents to be powerful, thus allowing them to exercise power over us.
Finally we have teachers. Our professors are the same as us, on an individual level, however in the classroom they have the ability to assign essays, create deadlines, and give out homework. The only reason they are able to do all these things is because we as students feel as though they are qualified enough and have earned the ability to do so. Although this is true and professors may have earned this ability, their power over us is still based on students allowing them to assign essays, create deadlines, and give out homework. Like we discussed in class, no one has power, however people are able to exercise power.
Thanks to class I came to the realization that no one, be it the president of the United States of America, my parents, or even my college professors have power. The power that they exercise however, comes from the people that give it to them. Citizens of the USA, children, and students all see these individuals as figures who are able to make important decisions, control a household, or assign essays because they have done whatever necessary to earn it. For the president it involves a large amount of work and many years, for a parent it is merely becoming a parent and caring for your child, and a professor has to go through the schooling necessary to educate others. Through all this we can see that power is merely a perception given to an individual, and exercised by creating that perception.