Thursday, November 20, 2008

Of Infinite Rhetorical Wisdom, Faber States...

"power is perhaps better seen to be a much more dynamic, productive, insidious phenomenon. Viewing power as an exclusively oppressive phenomenon does little to characterize the multiple ways in which power operates." (114)

Faber in this quote states the definition of power as it relates to image. On the recommendation of Professor Ramirez, I am going to take one of my favorite quotes in Faber's Communication Action and Organizational Change and hopefully uncover where it takes me in my writing.

As I read this, I thought of the power that is given to several authorities throughout our lives. Especially to government. Specifically the so called democractic government of the United States.

As Americans, we have become complacent in the role given to us by our own government. I won't begin to deny that I don't agree with everything the government has done. Yet, there is nothing that I have done to take on the power that the United States has created through its structure. They have created an image that is one of infallible rule over its people.

Throughout the times, citizens have questioned the validity of this power and have often wondered whether it is truly absolute. One such event is the World Trade Organization protests in 1999 that took place in Seattle, WA. The World Trade Organization is an organization that is meant to promote free trade throughout the world. A trend that leans towards globalization and the strengthening of societal divides, in other words the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Over 40,000 citizens stood up to peacefully protest this meeting of world powers on how they meant to stifle something they didn't believe in.

I watched a documentary years ago titled, "This is What Democracy Looks Like." It still makes the top 10 of my all time favorite documentaries. It chronicles the rhetoric that was used in mainstream media to turn the general public against the protesters of the WTO. This rhetoric was influenced by the power claimed by the United States and the World Trade Organization. It also makes mention of how a united front against power can take back its agency and affect the power that an organization may hold.

These people believed strongly enough in their ability to apply pressure on the government that they had elected to represent their best interests. They had agency in the face of structure, in the face of the phenomenon of power. They continued to hold their right to agency and directly influenced the turnout of the summit in Seattle.

If common people have the ability to influence the phenomenon and notion of power, then why is it now that we remain steadfastly silent? As the government continues to exercise its self-proclaimed power over us we sit and wait until someone else does something before we stand up and combat that power. Most of us aren't aware that the power of the government is held through their rhetoric and structure. This is our inability to effectively challenge that status quo and make changes for the better.

For me, Faber ultimately describes the absolute power that is held by the government and states that that power can be challenged through agency.

So, I ask. Why haven't we used our agency to challenge the invisible powers of government?

I also hope that this post doesn't put me on the FBI's most wanted list. :)

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