Why are people so afraid to say exactly what they think or believe?
Mark Twain had a great gift for this ability. Speaking of William A Clark, a wealthy man who built his fortune from the bottom up as an immigrant and finally became a United States senator, Twain put it this way:
” He is as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag: he is a shame to the American nation, and no one has helped to send him to the Senate who did not know that his proper place was in the penitentiary with a chain and ball on his legs.”
Oratory is a lost art, as may be speaking with no hidden agenda. ( You will find a short video on this page of a young English politician who has this gift. )
Political correctness or the fear of assassination..real or political.. has silenced those who would speak up and spit it out. For the most part, we have lost our guts and our way.
The only real nerve that we see anymore are those young men who bravely put their uniforms on and walk into harms way. Our chaplain friend is serving among them with no weapon to defend himself…only the word of God to comfort those who are afraid or dying. Courage, determination, and the ability to say or do without too many thoughts of personal safety is probably not something being passed to our future generations.
Watching the movie, Valkyrie , the other evening, the only thing that ran through my mind was the steel-like , raw courage that made this German soldier go after Adolf Hitler, knowing that his wife and children’s future rested on a peaceful Germany, not a world dictatorship. His efforts and those brave men who stood with him may have failed for that moment, but they left a legacy that would make freedom loving Germans proud. His courage was not in vain. There is no doubt that in death, the great gulf divide between those who live for evil and those who choose the higher good is a wide one.
Courage to live and to speak is a gift. Some choose to receive it. Some have the ability to use it. Others only follow, meekly hiding in the shadows. Few ask the consequences that not speaking up will bring. Few look at the big picture and ask themselves what their actions will mean to themselves, a neighbor or the world. Today is to be lived. Leadership is also a gift. Some use it for good. Others use it for evil. Some do not use it at all.
What is your gift?
Mark Twain may have said it best when he minced no words. Here are a few of his words for your pleasure:
- Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
- Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
- All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.
- Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
- Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
- Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.