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The Presidential Debate: Quintessential Dominator Meets Quintessential Relator

This is what I heard and read after the debates: “Thug meets Wimp. Thug wins. Man up, Wimp.”

In that debate Romney and Obama acted out with almost comical extremism two competing ways that we can understand our world. Romney uses any opportunity of unequal power to arrange things for his own benefit with no sense that he should regard the effects on anyone else. He is not a monster. He acts this way because he believes that this is how to be good. Let’s name that Dominator World.

Obama reasons. He doesn’t hit back or lie. Not because he is a wimp or a saint, but because he thinks the world will work better if we all act that way. Let’s call that Relationship World.

Right away we come up against our terror that we will be dominated unless we can somehow destroy the dominator. We don’t expect Romney to quit lying if he can get away with it. We expect Obama to call him out. And when Obama does call him out but not by going for the jugular, we blame his weakness for the frightening prospect that Romney’s way of looking at the world will gain total power in the coming election.

In that fear it is easy to become childlike, to blame, to look for a savior. It’s not that Obama has to man up. We have to grow up. Obama is not going to save us. All of us, working very hard, are going to save us—the planet, the fortunate, the dispossessed, the whole shebang, because in relationship world we recognize that it is all tied together, we are all in it together, and it all depends on every one of us.

I heard a conservative commentator on the radio saying that he was surprised by how quick the liberal and left media were to say that Romney “won” the debate. I was too. Romney did not win that debate any more than he earned his fortune. He lied, he stole, he preached a narrative that says that what he does is good.

We could step out of the dominator narrative of the world right now. We could start by calling Romney’s lies just that, every time we talk about the debate. The Romney campaign has deftly used disappointment with Obama to suggest, “Why not give the other guy a chance?” We know why not, and we need to be out there talking about that.

I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t criticize Obama. I am suggesting that we know who our opposition is, and an awful lot is riding on stopping them from achieving more power by winning the next presidential election.

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About Katherine Power

I didn’t set out to be a terrorist. As a student activist, I moved from protesting the war in Viet Nam to waging guerrilla war to overthrow the government….

Recent and Upcoming Appearances and Publications
1/15/2014 Complexity and Social Change, Occupy Radio
10/31/2013 Surrender, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
10/25/2013 Surrender, Taos Community Theater, Taos, NM

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