In the effort of creating positive social change there are many road bumps, most of them politicians, sometimes the public, and often ourselves.
Lots of people think of a Utopian world constantly, how things can get better, or how bad things currently are without creating action that inspires positive change. Why is this? Because doing stuff is hard. I don't blame you, we have jobs, we have families, plenty of responsibility, and shrinking schedules that don't even allow us to do things we once used to like flying kites, drive-in movies, bowling, riding a bicycle, and roller skating.
Today's society is impatient and fast-moving, we have computers to thank for that, but at the same time, video games, television, and air conditioning keep us rooted indoors. Even when we're supposed to get out and run, we stay indoors in gyms, on treadmills and bicycles that don't move.
Even when people aren't employed, they're still employed (without pay) building resumes, interviewing for jobs, trying to make limited finances work out, and that's assuming they don't have a family.
If you don't have money in the bank to tide you through these spells, and benefits at work like vacation and health care, you're out of luck in many of these cases. All of these things get taken from you during a spell of unemployment. The US economy is in shambles at this point, markets, job reports, and our Federal debt all point to ominous signs of not getting better any time soon, the second dip just after the hump in the letter W.
I recall the Reagan Era recession, the most notable thing besides the financial struggle my family faced, were that roads became full of potholes, that many people my family knew came asking for money, and that gas prices climbed extraordinarily. I was just around 10 years old, but I recall these key items that I saw as a kid, and I can point to all of them in my city now that I'm in my 30s.
There are other visible signs such as stores running out of supplies, robberies on the rise, looting, poor customer service, large warehouse retailers closing stores, and so much more that indicate where the state of the recession is. Investors have a method for watching sales of cardboard boxes to determine if companies are doing good or not, and in evaluating the market overall, more boxes sold means more movement and sales for companies, leading to good investment potential.
One thing's for sure, things always (eventually) improve. The people who jump off of buildings will never ever know. So how do we get to that better point? My primary impression is by walking in each other's shoes before making bets on the future.
As humans we have an extraordinary sense of thinking from our own perspective. We know what's right, we know what's wrong, and we know what others should do. We only doubt ourselves when someone we admire or trust gives us advice, if we're not too strong minded. In life, we often develop a thick skin in many cases because the people who don't know us are guaranteed to judge us, and if we don't create a little of the ability to "let their opinions bounce off of you", we face motivational and emotional devastation.
Any debate, as illustrated by the movie "Thank You For Smoking" can be won, lost, or fought based on the presentation of calculated facts to support your position. The facts you present can be carefully tailored to suit the needs of your argument and by withholding or avoiding discussion of negative characteristics that oppose your position. This practice is all to prevalent in politics today, just like editing a movie, video you see online of others can be edited to show completely different takes on things they recorded truthfully. Finding truth has become a much more analytical process than a fact-finding process in this world.
A truly dangerous political game can be played when one skews or carefully selects facts to support agendas in lobbying, in selling goods and services, and especially for elected or appointed individuals that determine policy for thousands and millions of people they are responsible to. In order to be the best we can be, a focus needs to rely on more than just facts and figures to guide our decision making process, we need to walk in the shoes of the people that our decisions impact.
In order to be good at running a company, making public policy, or even in general life existence, one should master the art of seeing things from the perspective of others. Its not an easy process, you have to throw away your own personal preferences and abandon what you believe in to view others clearly, but once you do, you can do a better job at representing the people you serve and work for. Understanding why a father will steal bread from a store if he has no money and children to feed (right or wrong) helps you to understand why social programs like welfare exist. Wrong as they may be, and abused as they are, these programs save lives, and there are tons of good people on them for any bad people that may be. Sure these social programs need reform, but ending them entirely will create a chaotic world.
Why were so many politicians against tax increases for the wealthy during the last budget vote congress held? Why were they so intent on cutting social programs instead? Because they don't see things from perspective different than their own.
Concerns of minority groups often take the primary seat at intellectual discussions every day. There are organizations dedicated to fighting for minority rights, whether they're based on race, industries, or wealth. In many cases they're justified, but in others they're powerful lobbies that influence politics heavily away form equal opportunity.
We rely on a system of majority rule, but that does not mean majority should win with every vote or decision made in today's society. Moderation should prevail in decisions by our leaders. Decisions are not simple on/off switches, and we are not robots, we are humans, able to delicately balance our decisions for maximum benefit to all parties, rather than just winning for our own team. We have to moderate better, and consider the weight of our decisions on more than just numbers and majorities and we are equipped to do so. The concept of Trickle Down Economics is a key example of a failed policy that caters to a few, preventing greater good, it essentially proposes that money trickles down from the wealthy to lower income individuals through a natural cycle. Today this model fails every day because the cash doesn't flow if the richer classes are not happy with public policy, if they feel scared of investments, or even if they simply don't wish to spend. This leaves the lower income classes devastated without income and opportunities, sounds familiar doesn't it?
Find the source of these types of ideas and I guarantee that you'll also find thick skinned people who have no idea of the lives others that they govern face on a daily basis.
With the lower income families of america struggling more than ever, and middle classes loosing their foothold daily, its increasingly important to remind key decision makers about how much their decisions impact our lives, and it should be expected of them to understand when we tell them our stories. These leaders shouldn't rely on just data to guide their decision making. They should be real people, more blue-collar, less wealthy, more educated, and of course less corrupt. If a person is going to be making decisions that impact the lives of others, they should be expected to be accountable problem solvers, seeking to unite others, making positive statements about positive change with specific road maps to success. If chosen leaders are not constantly in touch with all of us (as the people they are responsible to) and if they are too invested in partisan culture or movements that represent only a small section of the population, they're not walking in all of our shoes.