Be The Change

The enemy, your competition, the status quo, is counting on the fact that we won’t commit to do what it takes to get what we want.

Presidential Election Voter TurnoutOur democracy tilts in the direction of people who show up. In 2016 almost half of the eligible electorate stayed home. In 2020 nearly 40% did not vote.

Polls say our opinions about crucial issues of the day are in opposition to decisions made in our courts and on capitol hill. How does this happen?

The organizations behind today’s dominating political agenda are well organized. Someone is in charge and a large well financed infrastructure behind them to keep things as they are. They study the rules of the game, know their competition, create plans to protect their position. Here is the biggest factor – They are dedicated to the cause.

We have learned over the past decade that most people are basically comfortably numb, lethargic and, short of complaining on Facebook, are unwilling to engage the game. Groups dedicated to achieving their political goals count on this. They work harder and longer, knowing most people won’t go the distance to fight to the finish. In a pinch, they will give just enough to defang the opposition. More likely, they will create a climate of fear, uncertainty and doubt about change, and spend lots and lots of time and money to protect their position.

Effecting change takes time, commitment to the cause and the willingness to lead. And it is risky. We tend to attack charismatic leaders we don’t agree with. Take a strong position and your semi-comfortable existence is in danger. It’s easy to become demoralized, intimidated, afraid. It is very easy to give up.

So the majority of us just let it ride. We’ll yell at the TV, flame the social media comment sections, maybe even meet some friend for lunch for a group gripe. But we won’t do anything meaningful with the intensity and tenacity that it takes to effect change.

What’s the flip side of this? Engage, organize, execute, be willing to take some punches and keep on keeping on. One of my politician friends tells me, “Nothing frightens me more than a rational constituent on the other side of my argument.”

Occasionally, something will so inflame enough people to precipitate change. That’s rare.

“Change.” wrote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”

Margaret Mead’s motivational chestnut is still as valid today as it was when she first said it. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

History tells us midterm elections always swing away from the party in power. There are forces on the local level who are politicizing the voting process, questioning outcomes they don’t like, and putting their people in positions of power to influence how your vote is counted. They have an agenda and they are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish it.

What is important to you? Where do you stand on the hot-button issues of the day? Do you care enough to engage in an aggressive and meaningful way to inspire like-minded voters to vote?

Somebody on the opposite side of your point of view does. I promise you they are doing whatever they can to get what they want.

Life is a participation sport. It favors those who enter in the arena.

Will you?