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Who are the nobodies? Those with less power. At the moment.

Who are the somebodies? Those with more power. At the moment.

Power is signified by rank. Rank in a particular setting. Somebodies hold higher rank than nobodies. In that setting. For that moment.

A somebody in one setting can be a nobody in another. A somebody now may be a nobody later. Because rank is contextual and precarious, we're all once and future nobodies.

Abuse of the power signified by rank is rankism. When somebodies use the power of their position to put or to keep others down, that's rankism. When somebodies use the power of their position in one setting to exercise power in another, that, too, is rankism.

Dignity is innate, universal, and non-negotiable. No person's dignity is less sacred than anyone else's. Equal dignity requires equal opportunity. Rankism is an indefensible abridgment of the dignity of nobodies, and a stain on the honor of somebodies.

We're all potential victims of rankism, and equally, we're all potential perpetrators. Securing dignity for all means disallowing rankism. Though we haven't eradicated the familiar, ignoble isms, we have de-legitimized them and that's not nothing. To bury them, we must take on the mother, the source, of them all, and that's rankism.

Who are the nobodies? They are Everyman, Everywoman, Everychild. In our heart, each of us aspires to become someone new, someone more. The nobodies are us. Therein lies our power.

Nobodies of the world, unite! We have nothing to lose but our shame.

•••

[Also appearing at Breaking Ranks.]

Originally posted to Robert Fuller on Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 06:49 PM PDT.

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