As writers, we have talked about why we must protect our freedom of speech. But what I think doesn’t get near the attention it should is not just the right to freedom of speech but the necessity of the integrity of speech.
The integrity of speech meaning to speak the truth, even and especially when it is hard. Even and especially when it is inconvenient and uncomfortable. To speak the truth as the first priority in the relationship.
The integrity of speech means using language to bring people together rather than divide them. Knowing the best way to do that is to be both compassionate and transparent.
To be honest with people is to respect them. We are all adults in the room. We can handle anything so long as you give it to us straight.
This is how to build a society around trust, which is the strongest bond there is between any two people, any two groups, any two nations.
What we have lost over the last four years is the trust of our nation’s people, our ability to respect each other, listen to each other, protect each other.
We have lost our allies around the globe for the same reason. Lack of integrity. The president is incapable of understanding the value of community. He is incapable of empathy. He is incapable of using language and communication to unite people, protect people, honor people.
He is incapable of keeping his word, which, by nature of the office he holds, is our word.
His words become our words when we elect a man to speak for us.
His lies become our lies. His delusions become our fears, our confusion, our crippled and dwindling power.
We must be extremely discerning when it comes to giving a president – or anyone – such awesome power to speak for us. Trump is a liar and a conman. That is all he has ever been and none of it will change because it can’t. He can’t.
On November 3rd (26 days away as of this writing) we vote for integrity, transparency, truth, community, unity, true power.
We have seen the alternative. And I’m pretty sure most of us would agree we’ve seen too much.
And at the same time, not nearly enough.
Photo by Gerardo Marrufo