The word “gadfly” has a long and noble history.
In his Apology of Socrates, Plato wrote, “The State is like a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into life. I am that gadfly which God has given the State and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you. You will not easily find another like me.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.”
This summer, we’ll profile the modern-day gadflies working in Pennsylvania and shed light on the important role of activism in the civic process.
PA Gadflies airs Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. and again on Sunday nights at 6:30 p.m.
Watch episodes here: