The Mugabe Syndrome: The Arrogance of Power


I start out being very warm, charming and generous, leading you to believe I’m a regular guy. You vote me in. I surround myself with sycophants who won’t challenge me: I pay their bills, I buy them nice things.  I institute new rules which give me total control.   Then I start doing what I want.  Now I’m in power I can make up rules and break them when I feel like it. If you challenge me I can ignore you – heck, I can persecute you, hurt you as much as I want, until you learn your lesson.

I can force you to obey rules that I break, and punish you whenever I feel like it.  I can meddle with your life or destroy your property and deny I did it.  What are you going to do – sue me? I’ve got so much money and power that I can destroy you. Besides, you’re too scared of me to do that, and I can tell that you don’t know what your rights are.

I can do whatever I want with your money and your property.  Of course I could buy my own property, and do what I want with it, but why should I?  I like pushing people around.  I like the power, it makes me feel big.  Why spend my own money when I can spend yours instead?  What are you going to do?  Tell me I can’t?  Write indignant letters?   That really scares me.

I know how to intimidate you.  I know how to kick up so much dust that the reality of my behaviour is obscured.  I know how to make your life a nightmare.  I can do whatever I want.  Every once in a while I’ll be charming, and disarm you.  You’ll be so confused that you’ll think there’s something wrong with you. I’ll capitalise on your innate decency.  Because I can.

I don’t give a damn about the truth, I’ll lie when I feel like it.  I’ll be charming and generous to people around you, and I’ll tell lies about you, so they think you’re the neurotic one.  I know how to con people – hey, you fell for it, didn’t you?  I’ll even break the law if I feel like it.  What law?  What are you going to do about it?  I’m God.  I can do what I want.  I always have.  You can’t stop me. I’m the one with the money and the power.

But in the dark hours before dawn, I live in terror.  Terror that my enemies are growing in number, that my control is slipping away from me, that my money can’t keep my soul-consuming paranoia at bay.  I begin to hate the sycophants who live like parasites off me.   I know they are plotting against me, and only encourage me in my evil ways to increase my dependency on them.  I long to turn away from them, to undo all the harm I’ve done to those around me, to beg them for forgiveness.

But I can’t because I am rotten to the core.  I cannot help myself.  Like Howard Hughes I withdraw further and further from the world, as my paranoia encroaches.  I can’t keep my terrors at bay.  Not in the dark hours before dawn.  Because I know that I have hurt innocent people.  I know that what goes around, comes around.

I am a hunted man.

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4 thoughts on “The Mugabe Syndrome: The Arrogance of Power

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Mugabe Syndrome: The Arrogance of Power « stepping out of history -- Topsy.com

  2. Sounds just like the Republican party in America, except for the last 6 sentences. They deserve everything that they have pillaged and plundered from common folks, therefore no remorse. ‘nother day at the office.

    • I had them partly in mind, actually – the Republican party, I mean. It’s easy to look back in history on the Huns and Visigoths and that lot, and think how uncivilized they were, but actually how different is it now? The Republicans just have a smooth exterior, but at heart and in reality, you’re right, they’re pillagers and plunderers.

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