The Power of Dissent

Best thing I read today?

“His voice of dissent was influential in leading to the eventual amendment of the new Constitution to provide a national Bill of Rights.” ~ Paulsen, writing about George Mason, delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (from the book “The Constitution: An Introduction”)

In fact, Mason actually declined to sign the draft Constitution because of his deep concern over possibilities that an unchecked central government might lead to an intrusion on individual freedoms and liberty. For me, this is also a powerful reminder that we should not be so quick in our desire to silence the voice of opposition. It is easy to assume that our views and opinions are somehow sacrosanct and even infallible. In a zeal for our own personal purposes and plans, we believe that we must muzzle any and all who might disagree. Not so. Mr. Mason reminds us all that the safest course of action for a nation (and a government) is open dialogue, a willingness to deliberate and discuss. Had Mr. Mason been silenced or had he simply chosen to remain silent, we all would have been the worse. True, James Madison received much of the credit for the creation and ratification of the Bill of Rights. But George Mason was just as important in providing the voice of dissent that catalyzed their creation.

Never be afraid to voice your dissent. But also, and just as importantly, never be afraid to allow others to voice their dissent. Together, we are stronger. Together, we can be better.

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