The other day I spoke to my Toastmasters club. Usually when you speak, you don’t serve any other roles, especially in a club as big as ours. But we were short an evaluator, and I was asked to judge the tenth speech of another speaker (my favorite thing to do only after evaluating an ice-breaker speech). The tenth speech is a persuasive speech in which you are supposed to move the audience to take action.
Ruth stepped up to speak, but instead of speaking, she lit up the room with a spiritual song. Then she lit up everyone in the room by speaking about the tragedy in Connecticut. Ruth spoke about good and evil. She spoke about right and wrong. She made an impassioned case that laws are useless against evil; that what’s needed is something much, much bigger. She made an ardent and emotional plea on behalf of hope and love.
Love! She said emphatically.
Hope! She said, even more emphatically.
One of the questions on the evaluation form required me to answer whether Ruth used logic and reason to influence the audience. But she didn’t rely on logic or reason to make her case. And she was right not to. Events like the tragedy in Connecticut can’t be understood through logic or reason. As much as we want to understand, we never will. At least not by looking at the event through the sane, sober, and dispassionate lenses of logic and reason. The understanding, and the answer, lies somewhere else within us.
Ruth’s case could have only been made with the passion and emotions she chose to employ instead of facts, logic, or reason. And that’s how she made her case; she used love and hope to plead for more love and more hope.
More love. More hope.
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