Blessed are the Bullied and Ignored

Donald Jeffries

I was struck early on in life by the nonsensical nature of of power. As a teen, I marveled at Shakespeare’s brilliant observation, “Man, proud man, dress’d in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d- his glassy essence- like an angry ape plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven as makes the angels weep…”

Now, I naturally object to power, but I think that’s primarily because of all the extremely flawed authority figures I’ve had. I can really only think of one or two supervisors that I could stand, in forty five years of working. I was born a rebel, but I really think I would have been perfectly respectful if I’d been managed by Huey Long or John F. Kennedy types. When you’re young and naive, you expect those in power to be consistent and fair. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that this just wasn’t the case. I saw far more evidence of favoritism than competence. People with power abusing it, against the advice Uncle Ben gave Peter Parker. Perhaps others had different, more positive experiences.

The dictionary defines “meek” as “quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on.” That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Don’t we all like gentle people? It takes a quiet person to mesh with extroverted talkers like me. Meek people don’t know how to say “no,” thus are “easily imposed on.” Salespersons lick their chops at the prospect of pushing them into buying whatever it is they’re selling. Even if they figure out they’ve been ripped off, or taken advantage of, the meek won’t complain. They certainly won’t file a lawsuit. The meek are never on offense. When forced to react, they do so as submissively as possible.

I unhappily discovered as a child that those in charge, of families and workers, and voters, were seemingly all hard-hearted. Tough. Strict. I learned this from personal experience, and reading too many fairy tales. The works of Charles Dickens- whom I consider the greatest writer to ever lift a pen- are replete with this. Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and company spent miserable childhoods being shuttled between one abusive adult or another. Where was the kindness in the adult world?

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