Let’s rethink who we look to for change 

By Eli Annie

I click on a video claiming to prove beyond any doubt that one election contestant is unfairly maligning his opponent. The video plays through, showing snarky comments being exchanged in a Facebook chat. The only reaction I have is thinking how childish the whole thing is. The age of the men involved puts them far beyond that childhood age when such behavior could be expected. I wonder to myself how can we possibly being putting our trust and hope for change in either of these….gentlemen….a term I think only loosely applies in either case at the moment.

I have watched the gradual change in the tone of the election candidates go from one of cheerful heartiness to one of belligerence. At the same time, I have listened to the tone of the voters go from hopeful to cynical. The candidates began by touting their pledges to focus on community projects and women’s issues. People responded enthusiastically in the beginning, rallying around their favored party and candidates. As time has gone on, though, bitterness has emerged between the election contestants. The hostility has been ridiculous at times, with accusations and counter accusations on matters about family and personal integrity. The progression of the immature behavior has been paralleled in the voting population by rising disenchantment with the process, the contestants, and the outcomes of the election.

Voters look to their representatives in government to bring about needed change and apply required protections to the lives of their constituents. Honestly, I can’t think of a time when that has occurred without some kind of loss of power to the process. Even if legislation gets passed, implementation remains weak or nonexistent. The wording of the laws can be so ineffectual, as to be a total waste of mind space to let it enter your thoughts even briefly. Personal alliances are formed; voting blocks are established. Essentially those in government stop representing the people and switch to taking up only their own interests.

The posts and comments on Facebook repeat the same theme over and over again. People are skeptical over all the campaign rhetoric being pumped out and have no belief in any real possibility of change. Politicians in general are known for pumping voters full of empty promises (Asif Ali Ashraf, False Proponents of Change, 9 May 2015) to try to win votes, leaving the communities torn between grasping for a shred of hope and the harsh realities they know in their hearts to be true. But there is an alternate path, one that leaves the politicians and their misleading statements behind.

We are not as powerless to bring about change as we may feel. There is a growing movement for unifying to bring about change from the grassroots. We don’t necessarily have financial resources, but GB is rich in human resources. There are brilliant minds and motivated spirits throughout the country. There are groups forming with the only goal to bring human, community, and other kinds of resources together for planning holistic sustainable change that is owned by the people. We know what we want and what we are willing to do to achieve our goals. There is no reason to sit by the roadside waiting for someone to give us a ride. The walk may be long, and sometimes very difficult, but it is a journey that we can make together.

Please don’t think for one minute that it is going to be Candyland. The kinds of change we are looking for are to solve problems in existence for 67 years. People have been born and died in this time span. Attitudes have become stuck in ways of thinking that contribute to supporting the problems without realizing they are doing it. We must come together with the understanding that every person’s opinion must be given consideration, being willing to agree there is no perfect solution, and then the best fit solution determined. We must realize that to be successful, we must all contribute and acknowledge that all contributions have value. It is the basic understanding that to continue in a disagreement hurts all of us, helps none of us, and keeps us stuck in our own misery. We must decide what level of risk we are willing to take on, what kind of time frame we can accommodate, and how to learn from our past mistakes and future successes.

We each come with our own strengths and weaknesses. By working together for common goals, we can stop picking at each other’s shortcomings and start supporting each other’s talents. I am certain that by doing so we can design something new and vigorous to give life to a process of change.

I scan down another lengthy but meaningless array of complaints in the comments under a post on 67 years of the ‘same old-same old’ politics. I heave a sigh, tiring of the litany of repeated grievances. I click on another page to listen to find some music, when the soft ding of a Facebook message goes off. I click back over to find an application for helping a community change effort coming up this summer. Amazing, this is exactly it. I begin filling out the application to join in, when ‘ding’ here’s another message from another group wanting to bring community leaders together for creative change. Awesome! I hardly start reading on that one when that soft ding goes off again. Perfect! Keep it up guys. Let the politicos keep to their dead end ways. I vote to walk a new path.

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