Go on any social networking site, or just the internet in general, and you’ll find an innumerable amount of opinions on an infinite number of topics. It seems that no matter what stance an argument takes, there is always a counter argument. This free-flowing expression of ideas is one of the greatest things about our society, but it is also one of the worst.
Think back to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which I wrote on at length, mentioning that the movement’s lack of leadership and direction would be its downfall. Lo and behold, the movement died a slow and agonizing death due to a lack of leadership and a body of supporters that constantly added to it’s ever growing list of demands. Leadership and focus are vital to the success of any movement or political stance and today’s landscape simply robs any movement of those main sources of credibility.
The Internet is great for spreading ideas and opinions and for some countries where few people have access to its resources, like Egypt or Syria, it holds great power in its ability to stir the masses. These instances show the great tool that our day and age provides to us for creating sweeping social change, but it also shows us how ineffectual it can be for our society. See, in developing countries, the few voices that stand out are clear and represent the popular opinion of the people in most cases. In America, everyone is logged in and everyone has a voice. This can cause a mass pile up of opinion and transforms the public voice from a clear statement to a din of babble. pertinent, sensible arguments and true answers to our nation’s issues are lost within the raging tides of ignorant shouting and name-calling. The strangling of the actual constructive ideas leads to a lack of social change and the growing power of the institutions that we as an electorate all understand to be wrong and too powerful.
Here is what I suggest: find or create an idea, a politician, a group, and support it. Do not overstep your boundaries or try and overreach your goals. Keep goals simple and concise, and do not stray from them. Find a leader, more than likely the founder of this group or the person whose opinion or idea your are rallying around will be the best candidate for this position, but there have been times when leaders have been people involved with a group that ended up rising to prominence. The key is to find a face and to support that leader. When opposition arises, and if you are growing and gaining support, it will arise, do not lose focus. When the group you are involved with grows, make sure that no amount of people in the group are adding demands to the list. Once again, simple is key. Accomplish small goals, one at a time, and eventually, the change your group seeks will come to fruition.
Our society is broken on several fronts, but looking for the cure all to all of them at the same time is not what our society needs. Small, specialized factions of people devoted to changing some facet of our system will accomplish much more than simply looking for the next American Revolution. We are seeing this with the Tea Party Republicans. They sought to cause a new revolution in American politics, but instead have now crippled their party and given all Republicans a stain on their name after the government shutdown. If they had stayed focused on their basic goals, smaller government and less taxes, along with choosing representatives that would not overstep the group’s goals, they could have gained a large amount of power in Washington and could have had a legitimate candidate for 2016.
In the end, people in general do not like change, that is unless it has a face and a clear message. Sadly, today’s society has caused our causes to become twisted caricatures of themselves before they even get off of the ground due to the speed of the spread of information. The lack of true social change in my generation’s time only goes to show that sometimes, when we want change to come quickly, we forget one of the greatest and oldest of adages, “slow and steady wins the race.”