Substance and Style: Our Critical Need…in a Changing World

The crisis was life-threatening. Until medical aid arrived, my mission was simple: do all I know to keep the person alive!

My thought process was this: “What is the most important thing I must do right now?” A few moments later the situation had changed a little and I again asked, “What is the best thing I can do now?” ….Over and over again I asked myself….

This continued for at least five minutes: trying my best to remain alert and relevant, agile yet determined. That was a serious emergency which––thanks to God and the medics––ended well.

Interestingly, only hours later was I aware of any emotion. Someone had said, “That must have been a scary time!” Only then did I ponder what must have gone on inside of me.

…amidst the turmoil

There is a place for emotion and passion; there are also nuts-and-bolts tasks that must be accomplished. Without the former, we are dry bones; lacking the latter, we flit around from one year to the next.

I know what it’s like for passion to cloud clear thinking, and for policy arguments to lose sight of real people. It’s critical that we find a place for both: righteous passion and sound policy.

…for the task at hand

In my experience, anger-inspired advocacy may make me feel better, but it also builds resistance. Having genuine regard for those I seek to influence––yes, including elected officials––is more likely to see success.

If you have a heart to defend all that is true and good about America, practice your life-saving advocacy with emotions in check.