There has been something nagging at me this past week, always in the back of my head. Rhetoric. For those who don’t know what this is here is Webster’s definition:
Times of stress tend to show our true colors and comes out in our rhetoric. It shows how we truly feel about a situation and can belie insecurities. This makes it crucial that we pay attention to the rhetoric chosen during these times because the impact it can have on the audience can either assuage nerves or can embattle people to take up arms. We put our trust in our coaches, officials, and leaders to know when it’s right to use certain types of rhetoric. If the tone they end up taking is opposite of what you would expect it can lead you to question their motives.
Personally, it unnerves me when people use divisive language because that stirs up controversy, which can lead to violence. The web has made it easier to use this type of language with comment boxes where people can say what they want without thought to the consequences because they don’t have to say the words directly to a person’s face. To hear that type of language spoken out loud, especially from someone with influence, though is ten times more unnerving and even frightening. There is a paradox I heard that I think fits well here and reads:
“The paradox of tolerance concludes that in order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance.” – Karl Popper
We should be mindful of the words we use and what we are trying to say. We should use our words, thoughts, and deeds for tolerance, peace, and love. I know that may sound very hippie-ish, but why, with all the negative in the world, would we want to spread anything else. We have enough of the negative that we need to look for the positive. We should want to follow people that speak of these positive things, that push us to be better to our neighbors and listen/learn from generations that have gone before us, so we don’t repeat their mistakes.
Below are links to some of my favorite speeches. Speeches that have motivated or moved me to think about my life or helped me through athletic competitions (or both sometimes).
Life is a game of inches
(originally from Any Given Sunday
, but this version was shared with me when I rowed my freshman year of college. It’s my favorite, I basically have it memorized. Just watched it again and have goosebumps)
(this one is from a movie, but I encourage you to look up others. They are moving.)
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
*bastion: 1. a stronghold into which people could go for shelter during a battle 2. a group that defends a principle