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Monday, April 16, 2007

This Is What I'm Talking About

In March, I had a post about a courageous 19th century Speaker of the House, and issues of fear and courage. at The BRAD BLOG, Stephen Heller discusses his own experience as a whistleblower and, however daunting the consequences he suffered, he offers this (go read the whole thing - emphasis mine):
I was surprised to find within myself the courage to stand up and risk jail and financial ruin in the name of American democracy and clean elections. I exposed, at great risk to myself, information that threatened the integrity of our republic. I am now a convicted felon, but my head is held high. I am a patriot, an American, and a man. No one - not Diebold, not Jones Day, not the District Attorney - can take that away from me.

So for those of you who have seen or someday will see evidence of government or corporate corruption, join me. Expose it. You'll help pay the cost of freedom. You'll feel like a true American patriot.
That's a feeling that can't be bought, and it can't be beat.

That's what I'm talking about. That existential feeling that comes from doing the right thing no matter what the feared consequences:
What is the worse thing that can happen to you? What, if anything, are you holding back from doing, or standing up for, in order to avoid this possible eventuality? Is there a consequence you avoid at all costs, a terror which keeps you from being a meaningful member of the human community?

There are, sadly, far too many people in this country (and elsewhere) who do just that. One is tempted to remind them that the
actuality of a feared consequence is far less uncomfortable than one imagined afore. While this is a stone cold fact, it nevertheless will have no purchase on those who are in the grips of their own imaginations.

To steal a popular advertising hook... is it in you?

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