Have you ever listened to someone who could talk forever and yet never really say anything? Isn’t that tiring? Or on the other hand, have you ever been blown away by someone who used few words but expressed profound thoughts? I think we can all think of those times. I am reminded of the comments on the speakers at the dedication of the battlefield at Gettysburg. The main speaker, Edward Everett, was considered the greatest speaker of his day. He spoke for over two hours and not much is remembered of his speech. President Abraham Lincoln spoke for only two minutes and yet over 150 years later his speech is repeated in every school in the land and celebrated as an example of brevity and eloquence.
How do you use your words? Small talk and humor are important parts of our conversation, but there are serious issues that need discussion and we have an obligation to speak up and speak out. Speaking truth to power is not just for the journalists and political leaders. It’s not just for the preacher and celebrity. It is for all of us. The problems of today will not be alleviated by gabfests, but by heart-to-heart exchanges of substance.
This is another of Pete Buttigieg’s rules of the road—a guide to political activism, to help us all make an impact on our society and work for the betterment of our country and our world.
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