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Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 00:26 | SYDNEY
Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 00:26 | SYDNEY

Let's not fall too much in love with power

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COMMENTS

6 November 2008 09:22

Given the generosity and optimism of much blog commentary this morning about Obama's victory, I'm feeling a little guilty about the slightly dyspeptic tone of my comments yesterday on Obama's victory speech. So I will agree that this is a genuinely uplifting and important moment in American history.

But I also want to associate myself with this brilliant post by Will Wilkinson. While it is important to celebrate last night's historic breakthrough, it is nevertheless unbecoming for a free people to be so enraptured with a high political office:

...every four years, I find myself deeply disturbed by the fact that the office of chief executive of the national public goods administration agency is in fact, according to most people’s sense of things, the highest peak, the top of the heap. And the quadrennial reflex of vesting in a single powerful man so much hope for the future seems to me a truly depressing failure to internalize the spirit of American democracy. Last night’s celebratory catharsis was a long time coming. We needed it. But, frankly, I hope never to see again streets thronging with people chanting the victorious leader’s name.

As if to reinforce that message, who did I just spot walking, alone and contented, down Hunter St in Sydney, but Dr Brendan Nelson. You remember him — he used to be the alternative Prime Minister of Australia, and before that, he was Defence Minister.

All power is temporary, and all glory is fleeting.

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