Petty Tyrants: Is their tyranny really petty?

Ms. Petit-Tyrant

I’ve run into a few petty tyrants recently. I know they are tyrants, but why do we call them petty? It seems petty tyrants tyrannize over petty issues, but their tyranny has results that are anything but petty.

Yesterday I called the…um… Franklin Avenue Baptist Church (name made up to protect the petty tyrant) and spoke to their secretary. I told her I was calling from the Lithuanian American Society (name made up to protect the petty tyrant) and that our club wanted to donate to the St.Josephat (name made up to protect the petty tyrant) celebration next month, and how my club could do that.

Now keep in mind that Franklin Avenue’s congregation is elderly and the church is not finding it easy to keep its doors open, when I tell you that the secretary told me, “Your club cannot contribute.” The St. Josephat celebration is run by the Serbo-Croatian Club (name made up to protect the petty tyrant) and others are not really welcome to participate. I assured her that our Lithuanian club is non profit, peace loving, has never donated to terrorist organizations, etc., and discovered that Ms. Tyrant was aware of all that.

After I forced my mouth shut and resumed ability to speak, I verified that I was indeed speaking with the representative of a church, that the St. Josephat celebration is public, that the church does not have unlimited funds, and that she was, in fact, a secretary and not the senior minster of Franklin Baptist (name made up to protect the petty tyrant- you know that by now.) Ms Petit-Tyrant closed the conversation by saying, I’ll speak to Reverend Jones (name also made up) but it really just isn’t going to happen.

Ms. Tyrant usurped her boss’s authority and turned down an annual income of several hundred dollars for the institution that employs her. Why? Best I can figure is Ms. T is a member of the Serbo-Croatian Club and doesn’t want to run the risk of it being upstaged. Or perhaps the Serbo-Croats have a wealthy donor who would object to the Lithuanian involvement, in which case she made a financially sound decision but a questionable application of Christian values.

Was it petty? Yes. And yet, petty tyranny is more hurtful because it seems to be power for power’s sake and is usually exercised by someone who really has very little legitimate power. Ms. Tyrant showed me who was boss, but the result will be that many Lithuanians who used to put money in the collection plate, will celebrate St. Josephat at a different church this year.

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