Speaking Truth to Power
This afternoon I watched an interesting documentary on Anita Hill. It included bits and pieces of her life but mostly focused on the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, her accusation that she was sexually harassed by him and the fall out from the decision.
I hadn’t thought about Anita Hill in twenty plus years. I remember watching the hearings in college and not really understanding what was going on. As I watched the news footage I was struck by the image of this small black woman being interrogated by a group of middle aged white men. I admired the fortitude it took for her to sit in front of them and millions of Americans for nine hours answering embarrassing, intimate, shameful, humiliating questions. Her life was placed under the harsh spotlight of the press, the United States judicial system, tabloids, political pundits and private investigators. She endured this pressure and scrutiny because she dared to speak her truth to power, to confront an injustice, to not back down in the face of enormous odds.
Speaking truth to power isn’t easy. Facing persecution because of a belief takes an assurance that the pain is worth enduring and the cause is worth the hurt. In our lives we may never be called to capital hill, involved in a national controversy, have our life dissected by TV news anchors and radio hosts but we may one day need to choose either to stand by what we say we believe, speak truth to those who don’t want to hear it, to risk it all…or not.
The question of course is; “will we?”