I’ve Got The Power!
Many North Americans may not have known, back on the dance floor in 1990, that they were shaking it to a German rap outfit’s tune, and at that, which starts off with some Russian phrases.
The rapping doesn’t express much, yet power is a foundational concept in politics. To have the power, can mean everything!
Power is about being able to get what you want, and in politics, means getting others to do what you want. How so?
Well, maybe through influence, that is, you vote a certain way after seeing an appealing political advertisement or hearing a compelling speech. What’s great about power as influence is you can get people to do what you want, voluntarily.
If they just won’t listen, the darker side of power is coercion. Get others to do what you want because if they don’t there will be consequences. These consequences might be paying interest on your outstanding tax balance if you don’t file on time. The consequences could be ending up in a prison, and even, being tortured or killed. So your subjects will obey or else. In terms of coercion, it’s nice to live in a country that respects a constitution with rights so that coercion does not get out of hand.
Maybe instead as ruler, you’re good looking. Authority is the other form of power in which through your charisma, subjects may obey. But authority as a form of power is also about getting compliance because they respect you, or at least, the traditional position, like King or Queen or Prime Minister or President, that you inhabit. So, be nice! Or at least, be fair: another form of authority is legal authority: let’s all play by the same rule book and then we’ll behave.
Before you shout “I’ve Got The Power,” maybe consider what kind of power you are yelling about?