Speaking Truth to Power

You may have heard the term, ‘Speak Truth to Power,’ and wondered how a person would go about such an endeavor…and more importantly…why would you want to.

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Without a doubt the concept of telling a powerful person a ‘truth’ that perhaps they do not want to hear, is daunting.  This fearsome task is compounded if you are employed by the agency that you want to speak the truth to.

According to the scriptures, Moses felt more than a little trepidation when God told him to go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘To Let My People Go!’

Dr. Martin Luther King, spoke truth to power when he proclaimed, ‘I have a dream.’  He also spoke truth to power when he was in the Birmingham jail.

President Delyte Morris spoke truth to power when he tirelessly proclaimed that there would be a University in Little Egypt.  A poor…hardscrabble land…of farms and coal fields.  Out of Dr. Morris’ determination came Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, Illinois.

Now our political leaders, not all of our politicians, have refused to compromise and come to a consensus on a state budget…which has crippled our state and imperiled our great University.

Now is the time to speak truth to power…and let our political leaders know that we cannot continue in this manner!  Soon…we will be consumed…by political expediency!

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Former Chancellor Samuel Goldman said of me, that he had never met a person that was so willing to speak truth to power.  I was humbled by his kind remark.

I have experienced on countless occasions, when speaking with Chancellors and Presidents…that they are more than willing to listen to heartfelt concerns…as long as they are presented with a shared respect for our mutual humanity.

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One of my favorite quotes is from the author G. K. Chesterton, ‘We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.’

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