Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The price of truth

"Fear not the path of truth, for the lack of people walking on it," Robert Kennedy.
It is easy in the present to praise folks in the past who were willing to stand up for truth in the past and suffered the consequences for it. We see their courage but pay no cost for honoring it. We safely celebrate Galileo, Martin Luther King, Caesar Chavez and at SJSU, Tommie Smith and John Carlos. It is easy in retrospect to pay respect to these folks who stood up to the establishment, the then existing administration, when we are not in their time. It is easy to sing their praises when doing so is safe.

The real challenge is in the present, to suffer the consequences for speaking the truth when it costs your job, a better job or the wrath of your boss and/or coworkers, or worse. That is the measure of courage, in my opinion. Courage is standing up for the truth when doing so is not the easy path. Courage is standing up for the truth when standing up for the truth costs you. Too many times in my university career this is exactly what I have seen happen, good people suffer in academia for standing up for the truth. This has been happening in academia since the days of Galileo. This happens still.


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