How much money would it take for you to never talk about a particular issue again?
Well, it depends on the issue, of course. It’s going to be a lot lower if the topic is something I’ve never had an interest in talking about before. If you told me I could never speak my opinion on gay rights, it would cost a pretty penny. If you were offering something more like my thoughts on Facebook, I would give up that right pretty easily.
Let’s say the offer is for something I care passionately about. At a certain point, it would be detrimental to whatever cause I’m supporting to not take the deal, because I could give the money to affiliated charities. If I was banned from talking about educating woman in India, but there would be a women’s school set up, educating hundreds a year, it would be irresponsible for me to not take it, right?
That in particular is where I come to crossroads. It comes down to the question of, “Is speech more powerful than money?”
Well, first of all, anyone can move people through speech. While not everyone can pull a Bill Gates and donate millions of dollars to charities, they can make a difference by educating, inspiring, and even entertaining masses.
However, money is like WD-40 for change. Money, as hard as it is to admit to some, is very, very important. Without it, noting will get done. Look at the battle for net neutrality, as an unfortunate example. Proponents for the free internet were outspoken in abundance, and didn’t stop until the decision were made. However, because some chairmen were influenced by the promise of money, net neutrality was repealed on a 3-2 vote.
In this situation, money won.
But what were the net neutrality supporters supposed to do? Big companies will always have more money, and be able to push their agenda because of it. But don’t lose hope, because there are countless examples of people influencing the world based on what they say. Nelson Mandela, MLK Jr., and how about Jesus? None of these people were rich by any means, but they spoke their truths, gained a following, and started a movement.
There’s an argument that I cannot ignore. None of these people were opposed by a corporation. They were opposed by people who had money, don’t get me wrong, especially Mandela and King, but had they been opposed by Verizon, we may be living in a very different country.
In conclusion, speech can be absolutely game changing. A great speaker like Obama can make huge strides in whatever direction they may please. But without money, you’re a man on a soapbox. Both are necessary, so do whatever you can to help the causes you care about, whether it’s writing or donating. You may just be the difference.