Power vs. Force and the Roots of Anger
I don’t know why the statement “We need to speak truth to power” popped into my head last week. But it wouldn’t stop rattling around in the old noggin so I asked myself, “What does it mean to speak truth to power?”
I did a little research and apparently the phrase first appeared in a book published by the Quakers (Society of Friends) in 1955, although it is also attributed to Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin.
I have a lot of respect for the Quakers. My great-grandmother was a Quaker in Indiana. I dig their whole non-hierarchical, non-violent thing. And I have a ton of respect for those who risked their lives during the Civil Rights movement to try to win equal status for African-Americans in our society.
This slogan may have been perfect for the collective consciousness in 1955. But its hidden meaning is actually profoundly disempowering in our time.¹ Continue reading