by Peter Watts
Presenters like applause. Whether rip-roaring or thoughtful, we need to know our audience liked us; that they are glad they came. Every time we speak we expose our softly fragile ego underbellies, and positive feedback from an audience is what holds us secure.
Who would choose instead to be left standing alone, taking not just abuse, but hate-filled abuse.
What type of person would willingly embrace this scene?
Only one: a Light-House Speaker.
Light-Houses serve one of two functions:
They send out a light that indicates safe harbor, illuminating hope and direction.
They warn of razor sharp rocks beneath the surface. Rather than guiding ships in, they serve to warn them off. “Dare come near here and you’ll get your hull ripped out.”
A Light-House speaker is one who performs both functions simultaneously, to two opposing audiences. While functioning as a beacon to one group, frequently a minority, they mobilize a second minority who leap to shrill and vociferous attack.
The Light-House Speaker takes a stand that provides a beam of light to inspire others. Their opponents however, do everything possible to subvert that beam from inspiration into savage warning of rocks for any that dare approach.
The Huffington Post currently carries a live example of a Light-House Speaker, right here today, in America.
As North Carolina debated its constitutional amendment against Marriage Equality and many employers, despite being believed to oppose the bill, stood silent, a businessman called Bob Page decided to speak out. He threw his company behind the “No” campaign.
You can read what happened next by clicking this link.
Philosophers and poets have alluded to the dangers we face in the absence of voices brave enough to fill the role of Light-House Speakers. A highly appropriate verse comes from the Irish poet Yeats:
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
When the best choose silence, we need the Light-House Speaker to inspire, and yes to sometimes shame them, into action.
If after having read the Huffington Post article, you would like to support Bob Page’s business, you can find a link here.