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What It Means to Speak Truth to Power




     "Speaking truth to power" has become a common phrase to use when speaking about truth and/or power in a discussion that encourages courageous discourse on controversial matters.  It is an old phrase coined back in the 1950s by the Quakers and is defined as "a non-violent political tactic, employed by dissidents against the received wisdom or propaganda of governments they regard as oppressive, authoritarian or an ideocracy." (Wikipedia)
     I've heard it overused in a lot of ways and not with a clear purpose in its meaning within the context of what was being spoken.  We latch onto certain words and phrases as language goes in and out of style on almost a monthly basis.  In this current generation, there seems to be a new word or phrase created daily and then abandoned when they become overused like worn out sneakers from last year's fall collection.  But words have staying power even if you get tired of hearing them.  They last even longer if they mean something significant.
     Speaking truth to power means different things to different people.  Feel free to share what it means to you in the comments section below.  But remember this when you say it:  truth trumps power any day.  I would rather trust a man who has little or no power, than to distrust a man who is in power. 
    We've come to learn through too many awful experiences that speaking truth to the powerful can be costly.  Holding powerful, influential people accountable by calling them out on matters that they can impact is tricky.  Showing them their culpability in matters that are unfair, unjust, and immoral have gotten people fired, blackballed, and even killed.  That's why a big dose of courage is required.  To go against the grain, to be vocal when it is unpopular and to be willing to suffer the consequences takes a gut of steel.  For the brave people who do it every day, know this:  Regardless of what you lose, if you choose to stand on what is true and right and just, you have just asserted the power you possess.  Thus, if truth supersedes power when one must be considered above the other, then when all things are equal, truth is power. 


    

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