Our English language has an extraordinary capacity to convey a variety of different messages, even conflicting ones by using the same words.
Recently we were discussing the word “power” in relation to the elections, to those who found a seat, and those who lost one or missed out on the necessary totals.
Power is a “many splendorous” thing, like the song says about love. We can empower, or dis-empower, or overpower.
Something can be powerful, or powerless. They all use the same five letters and they’re all different.
The new incumbents of our city and regional councils have a responsibility to exercise the power of their office with wisdom, courage, commonsense and respect.
Another use of the word power is in relation to the coal-powered energy stations whose emissions are polluting the environment.
If our politicians exercise the power at their disposal as leaders and managers, they can’t simply support this activity and ignore clean energy and proper care for our planet earth.
Empowering is a means of assisting people of all colours, beliefs and capacities to reach reasonable goals to enable them to live comfortable and fulfilling lives in spite of hardships or disabilities.
The current trial of limiting access to people who test positively for drug usage could be described as disempowerment.
It is removing the free use of disposable cash without putting proper rehabilitation procedures in place to wean these people off their addictive behaviours.
The audacious use of power by the leader of North Korea in testing his nuclear armaments appears to be an attempt to overpower any or all possible challenges to his supremacy.
Hopefully, diplomacy and respectful exchange of opinions and positions might be able to replace the current activities, and allow a sense of safety and security to prevail.
The political leaders who have instigated the postal plebiscite in progress at the moment regarding same-sex marriage are exercising power in a strikingly unusual and expensive way. Surely the matter could have been resolved in Parliament.
Every man and woman in our nation is entitled to civil rights, irrespective of what their gender or partnership arrangements may happen to be.
The debate seems to be more about words than real meaning and equality.
Marriage is a word that has always carried significant religious overtones. If another word had been substituted, the debate would never have reached its current proportions.
Another example of the use of power in words is the euthanasia debate.
Whether it is the lack of adequate and well informed facts, or simply the language being used, there appears to be a lot of confusion about the difference between palliative care and euthanasia.
Palliative care enables the patient to exercise power in choosing to allow life to take its course with access to adequate medical treatment.
Euthanasia exercises power over end of life in a more arbitrary way, while the title “dying with dignity” fails to explain what it stands for.
So, let us all exercise whatever power we hold in a responsible and compassionate way that will empower our lives, and the lives of those around us.