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I will admit, I watched most of the James Comey Senate hearing replayed later in the evening after his testimony. I was very intrigued by the questioning from both Democrat and Republican Senators about why he did not speak up or take action to stop the conversation or its privacy.
Have you ever been in a situation where you should have spoken up but did not? Have you ever been in a situation when you spoke up and then wished you had not done so? Then there are the times you spoke up because it was the right thing to do even if you were challenged. I have experienced all three.
It all comes down to the duty to correct. Should Comey have corrected the President? Should you correct someone when you see something wrong? Such as, should you correct a legislator or fellow lobbyist if you hear something wrong? MSAE would say yes. In fact, that is why we created the government affairs academy. This late summer program was designed to give those involved in legislative affairs the knowledge and tools to "throw the yellow flag" when a campaign finance rule or lobby law is being violated. When you explain that you have the duty to correct because of your training it will help accrue complete compliance.
It takes courage to act when needed. It is also easier to reflect on a situation after it occurs rather than when it is occurring.
Have you seen the television show What Would You Do? This program is focused on the duty to correct. Using hidden cameras, host John Quiñones observes and comments on how ordinary people behave when they are confronted with dilemmas that require them either to take action or to walk by and mind their own business. Various scenarios are created that force people to make split-second -- and often surprising -- decisions, and variations of the situation.
The duty to correct is hard. It takes courage, but if you don't do it, who will?
Association professionals write all the time. Whether it is promotional copy, emails to members, committee minutes, newsletter articles, advocacy messages, press releases, or scripts they all are written by staff and often written quickly.