Henry Kissinger said “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” It seems that many of our politicians are addicted to power and will go to extremes to hold on to it. Addicts are often irresponsible, abusive, deceptive, manipulative, distant and self-centered. This addiction keeps them from truly caring about what’s best for their constituents. They can become self-centered and lacking in empathy. In Ten Lessons from a Post-Pandemic World, author Fareed Zakaria writes that many with power, wealth and prestige have less compassion, damaged empathy and heightened selfishness. In The Power Paradox, author Dacher Keltner writes that the effects of power are like a “…form of brain damage, leading us to self-serving, impulsive behavior…”
When we vote, we are giving the candidate power. We are trusting them to wield that power, but many are failing to use it for the common good as intended. I currently see some United States Senators knowingly lie on a nearly daily basis regardless of the harmful consequences to simply to hold on to power. They were elected as public servants to legislate in order to protect the citizenry and they are failing us.
They fail to understand what it is like for most Americans who are essential workers living paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford healthcare or to not have alternative housing during a disaster that makes their home uninhabitable. They fail to adequately fund education, healthcare and infrastructure and to legislate for livable wages, all the things that are necessary for their constituents to thrive.
Politicians need mandatory empathy training and daily reminders of why they were elected! Power addiction explains a lot of the despicable, uncaring, out of touch behavior we witness coming out of Washington!