If you live in a place where you can get on a public platform and speak critically of the people in political power without worrying about getting up in the morning a free man or woman, there’s a strong chance the truth you are telling holds no weight on their tenure in power. If this is the case, why the exaltation of the expression: TELLING TRUTH TO POWER. It is a term highly favored by activists in the United States. It is often regarded as an expression of courage. Among these are aspects such as; calling out incidents of injustice in law enforcement, judicial negligence, labor discrimination, citizen misbehavior and the like.
In the United States, you will often hear on the left and the right of the political spectrum that we are nation of free speech. it is true to an extent. However, the limits of free speech are not anathema to free society. They are evidence that is used to carry out justice, however, justice itself is not always a checkmate on power. Justice is when the law is observed. Whether or not the law is fair can be further discussed. But POWER, determines what gets to be considered as eligible FOR law.
Thus when telling truth to power, one is often seeking confirmation on the law POWER itself allowed. Hence, why those who are dependent on the carriage for justice for their convictions about their access to power are perpetually disappointed when decisions are made in opposition to justice but in favor of power. Tragically, this disappointment is often felt across all political systems.
If you read any of the Robert Greene books; 48 LAWS OF POWER, ART OF SEDUCTION, 33 STRATEGIES OF WAR, LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE… you get a sense that power in its most impactful form is esoteric, palpable and polarizing. People fight for it, seduce it, negotiate with it, fight against it but we never question when we are under its influence. When power is in play every factor within its reach is aware of it. It is a phenomenon felt beyond words. It is guardian of life or death. Thus any form of miscalculation in the presence of true power is to in fact risk DEATH.
So if the above is to be considered valid, then the question becomes; What use is the truth? Why seek it? Why tell it? Hence, another question. Why the urge to tell it? Or consider the next question. Does truth need to be told if the consequence is death?
Or maybe there is something else to consider. If power is the door to death and telling the truth is a threat to power, then perhaps the knowing the truth is the ultimate power. Perhaps telling the truth is not favorable to power because POWER and TRUTH cannot co-exist. Thus anyone selling you on the prospect of telling the truth to power without preparing you for death is selling you deception. For truth, like power hold in it the power of life and death. Truth and Power in effect are two sides of the same coin. If your light comes from power, truth will be its shadow and if your light comes from truth, power will be its shadow. So if you are telling truth to power, you are flipping a coin.
by Julian Michael Yong.