Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Speaking Out


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. giving his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963

photo credit: National Archive: Wikimedia-CC Public Domain Mark 1.0 
  

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." 


Democracy has a long association with communication. In Montesquieu’s view, the durability of free government depends on a nation’s capacity for self-correction. 

Citizens judge political events from the reports of electronic media, newspapers, or politicians themselves. We have few guidelines for assessing the value of such reports. 

As from the earliest times, improved understanding of what makes public talk effective will empower future rhetors to speak out, as the best assurance that democracy will thrive. 

Educational curricula need much revision to ensure effective teaching of civics. 

Concurrently, it is important to develop in individuals the key virtues of western civilization, namely justice, temperance, courage, and wisdom.  

The teaching of writing and public talk must develop the responsible principles learned from a rich legacy of thoughtful speakers and observers. 

Conscious of the resonant comment from George Orwell that "political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable," a public who listen and speak out is the root of democracy.