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De Ole Dawg – Part 11 2016: Loose lips make political torpedoes sink ships

 Loose lips make political torpedoes sink ships

How can we act wisely, in the face of toxic gossip and deadly political spin?

 

loose lipsBRADES, Montserrat, March 20, 2016 – A classic war poster from the 1940’s (when Nazi U-Boats were on the prowl) tells us: loose lips might sink ships

This saying should still give us pause.  For instance, a few weeks ago the report suddenly spread like wild fire online that Bank of Montserrat had been served notice by Bank of America that very soon, correspondent banking relationships would cease. This was picked up from a respected regional newspaper and that came from an official’s remarks in a conference. Within days, it was all over our local news and views media and in social media.

Luckily, there was no panic and in a few days we learned from official statements that while Bank of America intends to withdraw from our region to reduce its risks, there had been no 30-day notice given. Also, steps are in train to provide similar (though, likely more costly) services through Britain.  So, while there is reason for concern, there is no reason to panic. And, we must never forget that ill-founded rumours can easily spark a panic that damages or destroys a sound bank.

Loose lips can send torpedoes to sink good ships. As James warns:  “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity . . . it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” [James 3:6, KJV.]  Just as a tiny spark can trigger a raging wild fire, so also toxic rumours and ruthless or misguided political rhetoric can easily create a fast-spreading message that seems oh so believable. But, in fact it is false or ill-founded, foolish and destructive. Sometimes, it is something said in disregard to truth, in hope of profiting from what is said or suggested being taken as true – a lie.

That is why one of the all time greats on political rhetoric – the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero, warns us that political rhetoric is at best a double-edged sword:

. . . when I consider the disasters of our own republic [Rome], and when I call to mind also the ancient calamities of the most important states, I see that it is by no means the most insignificant portion of their distresses which has originated from the conduct of the most eloquent men. But, at the same time . . . many cities have been established, many wars extinguished, many most enduring alliances and most holy friendships have been cemented by deliberate wisdom much assisted and facilitated by eloquence. And as I have been, as I say, considering all this for some time, reason itself especially induces me to think that wisdom without eloquence is but of little advantage to states, but that eloquence without wisdom is often most mischievous, and is never advantageous to them. [Invention, written when Cicero was 21.]Cicero

In short: clever toxic talk should not be mistaken for leadership. Likewise, spreading ill-founded but destructive smears against our neighbour not only shows gross disrespect for those made in God’s image but does not help to build our nation. Instead, this is how we are to love our neighbours:

Lev 19: 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people . . . 17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. [ESV]

So, we should beware of juicy rumours and of toxic-tongued speakers – especially if such tickle our itching ears with “sweet-talk” and “melé” that we want to hear; or if they stir up envy, disrespect and hate – poisoning our souls. For, the easiest way to shoot down a sound but inconvenient idea or proposal is to cleverly twist it into a straw-man caricature and make those who propose it sound like ignorant fools or useless quacks up to no good.

That means, sound leadership has to fight and win the daily battle for message dominance, win it with wisdom, integrity, truth, concern for the people and community – and yes, eloquence. (Those who fail to do so, by silence in the face of falsehood eventually become enablers of evil.)

Yes, this requires putting out regular, credible messages on news, issues and views. Messages that give a true and fair view of Montserrat, its opportunities and challenges as well as a vision of a sound way forward. But, it also requires that we effectively, consistently confront and correct slander, spin and deceptive political rhetoric.  For:

Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide, In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side; Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight, And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light.

For taking the stance for the right, the following straight vs. spin table is useful:

spin table

Ideally, all sixteen boxes should always be Y for yes, but occasionally, we will slip and there will be N’s for no. Such, should be promptly corrected. But if a news source or a spokesperson or a leader – or a co-worker, or a neighbour or a family member – is consistently failing the straight vs. spin test, we face “the moment to decide, In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side.”

Indeed, now is the moment for Montserrat to decide . . .

 

ENDS –

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 Loose lips make political torpedoes sink ships

How can we act wisely, in the face of toxic gossip and deadly political spin?

 

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loose lipsBRADES, Montserrat, March 20, 2016 – A classic war poster from the 1940’s (when Nazi U-Boats were on the prowl) tells us: loose lips might sink ships

This saying should still give us pause.  For instance, a few weeks ago the report suddenly spread like wild fire online that Bank of Montserrat had been served notice by Bank of America that very soon, correspondent banking relationships would cease. This was picked up from a respected regional newspaper and that came from an official’s remarks in a conference. Within days, it was all over our local news and views media and in social media.

Luckily, there was no panic and in a few days we learned from official statements that while Bank of America intends to withdraw from our region to reduce its risks, there had been no 30-day notice given. Also, steps are in train to provide similar (though, likely more costly) services through Britain.  So, while there is reason for concern, there is no reason to panic. And, we must never forget that ill-founded rumours can easily spark a panic that damages or destroys a sound bank.

Loose lips can send torpedoes to sink good ships. As James warns:  “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity . . . it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” [James 3:6, KJV.]  Just as a tiny spark can trigger a raging wild fire, so also toxic rumours and ruthless or misguided political rhetoric can easily create a fast-spreading message that seems oh so believable. But, in fact it is false or ill-founded, foolish and destructive. Sometimes, it is something said in disregard to truth, in hope of profiting from what is said or suggested being taken as true – a lie.

That is why one of the all time greats on political rhetoric – the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero, warns us that political rhetoric is at best a double-edged sword:

. . . when I consider the disasters of our own republic [Rome], and when I call to mind also the ancient calamities of the most important states, I see that it is by no means the most insignificant portion of their distresses which has originated from the conduct of the most eloquent men. But, at the same time . . . many cities have been established, many wars extinguished, many most enduring alliances and most holy friendships have been cemented by deliberate wisdom much assisted and facilitated by eloquence. And as I have been, as I say, considering all this for some time, reason itself especially induces me to think that wisdom without eloquence is but of little advantage to states, but that eloquence without wisdom is often most mischievous, and is never advantageous to them. [Invention, written when Cicero was 21.]Cicero

In short: clever toxic talk should not be mistaken for leadership. Likewise, spreading ill-founded but destructive smears against our neighbour not only shows gross disrespect for those made in God’s image but does not help to build our nation. Instead, this is how we are to love our neighbours:

Lev 19: 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people . . . 17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. [ESV]

So, we should beware of juicy rumours and of toxic-tongued speakers – especially if such tickle our itching ears with “sweet-talk” and “melé” that we want to hear; or if they stir up envy, disrespect and hate – poisoning our souls. For, the easiest way to shoot down a sound but inconvenient idea or proposal is to cleverly twist it into a straw-man caricature and make those who propose it sound like ignorant fools or useless quacks up to no good.

That means, sound leadership has to fight and win the daily battle for message dominance, win it with wisdom, integrity, truth, concern for the people and community – and yes, eloquence. (Those who fail to do so, by silence in the face of falsehood eventually become enablers of evil.)

Yes, this requires putting out regular, credible messages on news, issues and views. Messages that give a true and fair view of Montserrat, its opportunities and challenges as well as a vision of a sound way forward. But, it also requires that we effectively, consistently confront and correct slander, spin and deceptive political rhetoric.  For:

Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide, In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side; Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight, And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light.

For taking the stance for the right, the following straight vs. spin table is useful:

spin table

Ideally, all sixteen boxes should always be Y for yes, but occasionally, we will slip and there will be N’s for no. Such, should be promptly corrected. But if a news source or a spokesperson or a leader – or a co-worker, or a neighbour or a family member – is consistently failing the straight vs. spin test, we face “the moment to decide, In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side.”

Indeed, now is the moment for Montserrat to decide . . .

 

ENDS –