“The more our feelings diverge, the more deeply felt they are, the greater is our obligation to grant the sincerity and essential decency of our fellow citizens on the other side,”
Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), October 1983, Lynchburg, Virginia
How do you speak truth to power? In America’s history, some of the most powerful men and women in the world have met in and around this building. But power is not limited to government and having the confidence required to deliver the truth to those who do not want to hear it requires knowledge and expertise, not just political savvy.When we understand the facts surrounding an issue – and not just the emotions of it – we better understand the opposing view. When we identify and communicate the problem we want to solve, we limit the debate and the noise. And when we tell ourselves the truth about our nation’s history and our founder’s beliefs, we are principled and honest.
No one should be afraid of the truth; in fact, a full vetting of facts should be welcome. But too often, we avoid facts because we mistrust their source or because we fear their conflict with our already long held beliefs. So we are then left in the information age, in which anything and everything are literally available at our fingertips and yet, we maintain our reliance on supposition and half baked theories.
Speaking truth to power requires knowledge and expertise. Moreover, the only ones that benefit from ignorant masses are the powerful. It would seem to me that we should all be motivated to not only demand truth from the powerful, but also from ourselves.
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