I’ve been dealing with authority issues lately. Not in the sense of my having problems with authority figures, but in the sense of what is reality-based and what is not.

At work, we have several new managers. I have no problems with any of them in particular. However, one of my co-workers, the other day, told me that Manager A had told her to do “recovery” (making sure the dressing rooms were cleared out). Meanwhile, racks were coming out and I was putting the clothes away. Manager B comes up to me and asks if I had been getting any help with the racks. I said that, to my knowledge, my co-worker was supposed to be doing recovery. Problem? Manager B is unaware of Manager A’s orders. Communication problem. I talked the other day to Manager C about the incident and told her that there needs to be communication amongst management because I don’t want my co-worker fired for doing Manager A’s bidding and not Manager B’s. I have no power over any of this.

Later in the day, another co-worker was telling me that Nancy Pelosi doesn’t have control over the House Democrats that she should. I said, “That’s not actually true…” I did not mean that she really does have control over the members of her party. My meaning was that it is simply not in her job description to have control over other House Dems. Adulthood does not work that way. The newly-elected members are not ultimately accountable to her; they are accountable to the voters that put them in office in the first place.Whether the voters want them to agree with Pelosi or disagree with her,that is what they will do. She knows it is beyond her control. Period.

I had general durable power of attorney over Barry. That’s about as much control over a human being as is possible. And I still respected his free will and choices as much as possible. I could have thrown him into a nursing home and did not.

The only times I have ever seen the kind of control my co-worker thinks Pelosi should exercise has been in various cult-like religious settings. When people fall in line with whatever a leader says, they have abdicated their adulthood. They are now children wearing grown-up clothes.

The reality is that authority is not pro-active; it is reactive. Authority figures can only impose consequences after someone does something against the rules. The boss can fire you.The parent can take away your X-Box.

Do Republicans seriously think Pelosi can get her members to fall in line with her? She is not the Dictator of the House, only the Speaker. That level of authoritarianism is exactly what scares me about them.

My conservative co-worker scares me a little. And amuses me even more. He is probably a good twenty years younger than I am. He is going to learn some very hard lessons. I’m glad I have no real relationship with him. I respect other people’s choices, whereas I don’t think he is capable of that.

We all have choices. We can all do whatever we want. And we all have the right to impose consequences on each other’s behavior. Most people understand the first idea and miss out on the second one completely. I guess these are lessons we all must learn the hard way.

About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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