Like it or not, the ball is in our court
To many, the sad state of affairs in our nation seems hopeless; apathy has displaced engagement, or, worse, anger and hostility drive us to destructive acts as individuals and in groups.
From Albert Einstein’s message in Canadian Education Week, March 1952:
There is the danger that everyone waits idly for others to act in their stead.
We have but one choice, which is to put our problem-solving skills to work individually and collectively.
Raise your voice
Every concerned citizen sitting idly adds weight to the problem by letting trouble-makers get away with their devious deeds and by not holding accountable the public officials and others responsible for creating and maintaining the rules governing our system.
With the Internet, we have more powerful ways of communicating than ever; with far greater reach to friends, strangers, organizations and the government. And combining critical thinking with effective communications can amplify your voice while adding the strength of others to your message.
Act as a community
How about harnessing the power of our uniquely human attributes – our language and social skills – by working together to bring about change? Putting our social skills to effective use isn’t easy, but there are several proven methods for doing so.
Here’s an example taken from Equipped for the Future (EFF), a standards-based process from the University of Tennessee’s National Institute for Literacy.
Originally conceived for adult learning programs, EFF provides a step-by-step process groups can use to get organized and effectively work together as a community. The EFF website offers simple organizational tools, including a visual role map explaining how members of a group can work together effectively.
The EFF process can help like-minded people define shared goals, gather and analyze information, and use technology to exercise their rights and responsibilities.
Change.org is a non-partisan, for-profit company providing a “platform for social change.” It’s a website that allows you to create grassroots campaigns and gather support by circulating online petitions.
Consider things you can do
Remember Edward Burke’s words:
All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
- Communicate locally with letters to the newspaper and your elected representatives
- Go to an Occupy event and see for yourself what the participants are saying
- Pick a local organization – school, civic, or professional – to find out more and consider getting involved
- Act on your power as an individual – Vote!
Become informed, consider the facts, and take action on your own and with others.