by Richard A. Cheatham, Press Media Group, LLC
Have you lost something? More precisely...has something been taken from you?
The thing I’m talking about here is your voice. No, I’m not talking about your ability to form your words and communicate by speaking. I’m talking about the very real probability that someone, some people, presume to speak for you, to represent you, without your knowledge and/or your permission.
People acting on behalf of others is common practice. It’s been going on throughout recorded history, and certainly before that. It will continue for as long as there are humans. Sometimes the practice is legitimate, with the permission and knowledge of both the person being represented and the person acting as agent. Often it is not. I’m speaking here about the latter.
Some of the greatest offenders, the people who’re most likely to try to get away with speaking for other people without the knowledge and active consent of those people are political leaders, religious leaders, social leaders...as a matter of fact, “leaders” of all kinds. Be very wary of anyone who regards him/herself a “leader” for obvious reasons. The authority to lead is always limited by the knowledge and consent of the person being led, a fact conveniently “lost” on many “leaders.”
No one speaks for an entire “race,” for an entire “people” or “tribe.” How could they? We’re all free and sovereign individuals with our own lives and voices, whether we use them or not.
Advocates of a particular point often say they speak for all who have that perspective. Often also, they haven’t considered all the possibilities and perspectives of an issue. Sometimes they know, but carefully don’t point out, certain possibilities and likely scenarios, that they would rather not tell you, because they fear you might come to conclusions different than their’s.
Here’s some important ongoing homework for you on this issue. Be constantly aware of this process. Notice when people presume to speak for others. Look for this process in the media, in meetings, at church, among friends...look for it everywhere and all the time. The process is so widespread that it’s one of the major obstacles to our understanding our daily lives and choices.
Whenever possible, challenge and confront people speaking for others with questions about their “authority” to do so. Ask them exactly who they speak for and precisely how they came to have that permission. Ask them specifically what they were authorized to say and how long their authorization lasts. You might find their answers very revealing. How they answer will inform you perhaps more than the point they were originally trying to make.
Aren’t you often bothered by other people claiming to speak for you? Don’t you often feel misrepresented and even manipulated at times? Haven’t you lost something? Perhaps it’s your voice. Maybe, just maybe, you should do something about it.
©2006 by Richard A. Cheatham. All rights reserved. Mr.Cheatham is a professional speaker/writer and is syndicated through Press Media Group, LLC. Contact him through, Living History Assoc., Ltd., at www.LHALtd.com or DrawBackVeil@aol.com.