When I was 16, I got in an ugly shouting match with my father and he punched me in the face.
He stood in front of me, fists raised, awaiting my counterpunch. But his good fathering of me over the previous 16 years overcame the bad moment between us. I didn’t punch back. I instead squared my still-narrow shoulders to him, looked him in the eye and said quietly, “Don’t ever hit me again.”
And he never did.
My father was a good man, whom I loved until and after he died 15 years ago, who’d done a bad thing that day. I called him on it, as he’d taught me to, and we both became better people for it. I too have done bad things with those I love, they too have called me on it, and we too have become better people for it.
Such is the nature of humans and power. Power does not make a person bad, but it enables them to do bad things if they aren’t called out for it. The Quakers had an expression for this: “Speak truth to power.”
America was born because wise and courageous people spoke truth to power, and America survived because they established a system to ensure that people could always speak truth to power.
People spoke truth to power in demanding Continue reading