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Blog Action Day – The Power Of “We”

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012

Every year this group that calls itself Blog Action Day comes up with a topic that they hope bloggers around the world will write on. I’ve only participated twice as far as I know, and I did the same date on this blog and my business blog. This time around I’m only doing it on this blog, and this is that article. The previous articles were on the topic of poverty and food.

This year’s topic is on the power of “we“, which I find fascinating because not only was this a calendar year where the collective “we” changed history, but this is a presidential election year, and the “we” have a another chance to select either the current leader or a new leader. I’m going to touch upon the former then talk more about the latter.

In the last calendar year we saw the governments of Egypt and Libya overcome decades of dictatorship, and we almost saw the overthrow of Syria, not by military means but by the people joining together and deciding they wanted another way. To the credit of the military in the first two, they didn’t just do their “duty” and start slaughtering the populace, which they could have easily done. Syria showed that when one just “has” to stay in power, it will be by any means necessary.

We have seen the power of “we” used in other countries in the same fashion, sometimes to the detriment of the rest of the world in my opinion, but sometimes change has to happen before things can move forward, no matter what kind of change it is. And it’s hard to ignore the power of “we” in these instances.

So, what about our presidential election? Voting is a right that people in many countries would love to have. There’s almost no corruption and, when it concerns presidential politics, millions of people go to the polls to vote. This is the best way of using the power of “we” in our country.

Except it doesn’t quite work that way. Some of you might remember my post titled I’m Black where I talked about having people question my vote for current President Obama because of my skin color rather than using reasoned decision making. Truth be told, what really happened is that leaders in black communities across the country worked hard on getting the vote out, and it was a success.

But it wasn’t the first time there was such a push. Every year since Gore decided to run for president the same thing happened, and black voter registration has increased every year, thus more black people voted. The power of “we” was in evidence.

Was that what put President Obama over the top though? Not even close. What pushed him over the top was the other side of the power of “we”, that being white voters that decided they weren’t going to vote at all. There was a decrease on the other side of around 35% that decided not to even show up, even though they were registered. See, the power of “we” can be apathetic, and in their own way participate in the process by not participating.

In 2008, just over 57% of registered voters decided to exercise their constitutional rights to vote. It was the highest turnout since 1968 when just under 61% of the population voted. Compare this to the years from 1848 to 1900 when only once did the voting populace come under 70%, and it was still 69.6% in 1852. Three times in history we couldn’t even get 50% of registered voters to the polls; apathy are “we”.

Still, it all shows that the power of “we” is strong, both for positive and negative reasons. If people decide to band together for a cause, “we” is a powerful statement. When all is said and done, if we all want positive things to happen in society, it’s up to “we” to get it done. And we can do it.

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Well done. So often, “WE” don’t participate in leadership roles because “WE” figure the others will take care of it. “WE” don’t vote because “WE” don’t think “WE” matter enough or “WE” simply don’t care. Those others are “US”…and “US” is “WE”.

October 15th, 2012 | 11:52 AM

Good stuff Joleene. Some people always think someone else will take care of things, and when it doesn’t happen then they get mad. We all have the opportunity to have our say and to make our mark on the world. If we don’t do it, can’t blame anyone else. Thanks!

October 15th, 2012 | 12:36 PM

Hi Mitch,
I’m so glad you shared this. I have gone through some time of private issues. I am going to use this to jump-start my return to my writing in my blog. Thank you and the organization for this motivation and inspiration! Sally
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October 15th, 2012 | 12:02 PM

No problem Sally and welcome back to the blogging world. I figure everyone makes a difference in some way, even with posting on a blog.

October 15th, 2012 | 12:37 PM

I agree with you Mitch. I mean, unless WE take a stand and help in making the decisions that affect the entire country, WE cannot expect things to get better. Often, WE do not exercise our rights, neither do WE fulfill our duties, yet WE are the ones who are first to complain when things begin to fall apart. When WE come together, we can make great things happen – this much has been proved time and again. All that is needed is for US to become WE.

October 15th, 2012 | 10:23 PM

Thanks James, I’m glad we agree. That’s why I vote, to hopefully have my say in making a difference.

October 15th, 2012 | 11:46 PM

In business power of “we” definitely can work quite well, but in countries listed in first part of the article, my opinion is slightly different, which is not a surprise as I am from ex-eastern block, but more because I have been there and have good friends, they are not quite happy what is going on with changes in power and politics. I don’t want to change the tone of this positive article, but it is expected that there will be more wars in this area and the reasons are obvious.
Certainly we can work together, but we are not “borg” and every single person should have common sense and take responsibility about own actions.
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October 16th, 2012 | 12:19 AM

Of course you did change the tone of the article Carl, but that’s okay because your experience is much different than mine. Actually, it wasn’t all that positive, but it talked about the power of “we” to make changes. Actually dude, when you compare what where you live now is like compared to 40 years ago, you have more freedoms and more power to change things than you did previously. Back in the day, not only would you not have been allowed to have a computer, if they’d existed, but you’d have probably been dead already for living where you do, since you’re not in your home country and that certainly wasn’t the norm back in the day.

In essence, you’ve missed the point of the article. There is power in “we”, but each person retains their individuality. You get to decide whether you want to live with your status quo or change things. Now, in your case it might be the difference between life and death, but it was that very thing in the 60’s that led to my having the right to vote. And it was the collective “we” that got it done, not one person,not an individual, but “we”. The same with all other countries including, well, the Eastern Bloc. If you’d seen how happy people were when the Berlin Wall came down and all the other countries finally broke free and into their own entities, you’d understand what I mean. Sure, things aren’t perfect, but one step at a time my man.

Of course, it also takes bravery sometimes to affect change. There probably will be more wars; that’s human nature. But there could also be peaceful protest; worked for India, worked for civil rights here… I’m just sayin’…

October 16th, 2012 | 12:28 AM

Going to the first paragraph of your reply, you are quite inaccurate. Not 40, but 30 years ago litre of diesel used to cost 1c back in my country, yeah you read right 1c. Personal computers, everybody used to have analogue of Apple8 or IBM PC16 computer during the 80s at home and this used to cost about $80. Another fact, the same computers processors were installed on “Mir” space station. I am not back in my country, for many other reasons and mostly because democracy turned pretty bad, nothing against the previous economy growth. Another thing – nobody have ever paid any education, health insurance, dentists and nobody have ever heard about unemployment rate. This was the power of “we”, everybody used to have backup by government, just because was born a human being.

About the happy people – there are always happy and unhappy, just the news, videos and pictures are different in different media.

No, I don’t missed the point about “power of we”, I just disagree with the examples. It is all politics, when East lose, West take over and the opposite. All strong empires that have stood strong in the past have fall and another have arise. I doubt that we can talk about recent history, as history after 200 years will prove who’s right or wrong.

My point is that there are different systems, different parties, etc.. The problem is that it seems that system right now is not working well – crime levels are rising, unemployment rates are rising, debt is rising and I am not talking about USA, but about global picture.

October 17th, 2012 | 3:22 AM

Carl, I thought about whether I was going to let this one go or not and decided I couldn’t because, sorry, but you’re wrong.

For instance, your first paragraph in this response didn’t even address my first paragraph in any way. You talked about price of gas and stuff when first, you’re not old enough to know what the price of anything was 40 years ago, unless you’re hiding your age well, and also in my paragraph I addressed freedom, not products (home computers didn’t exist 40 years ago either and there was no Mir Space Station either, so you know), and dude, let me tell you, there’s no comparison between the kind of freedom your area of the world has now as opposed to back in the day. All you need to know about it is that there’s no one from where you lived defecting to the U.S anymore. They might have monetary differences, but no one being left behind is at risk of being killed or thrown in jail because they knew you or anyone else in your family had defected. Based on just that fact, you’re wrong; sorry to say but you are.

You or others may not like the life you have now, but it’s not close to what it was like when your family members were living under the constant threat of death under a communist regime. Yeah, I know, it’s not perfect now, but you can always advocate for communism the way it was in the 60’s and 70’s, then compare that life to what you have now. I would bet that you’d say you were living in a paradise now because at least now you can travel to other countries if you have the money, have the possibility of standing out without having to be a member of the Party, and in essence you have the same opportunities to “make it” if you will, as Americans do. And it was the power of “we” that got it done, just like it was the power of “we” that did it in India, Germany, and here in the U.S.

If we’re going to compare history at least get your time down; 40 years ago we saw your area of the world as part of the Evil Empire and most of Indochina was a war zone. It’s a nasty little history that still feels pretty raw for some of us who had family members over there for whatever reason, and the Red Scare still permeated our lives. Nope, I’m not wrong on this one; not even close.

October 18th, 2012 | 1:14 AM

I think it is a great concept – the power of ‘we’. The problem of ‘we’ not voting or exercising our rights is not just in the U.S but everywhere in the world. I think as individuals when we realize the collective power of our votes, we would understand the difference it would make to the way our country and our world functions. Thanks Mitch for sharing this with us.
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October 16th, 2012 | 1:56 AM

Thank you Thomas. Yes, the collective “we” can be powerful; all we have to do is care.

October 17th, 2012 | 2:23 AM

Mitch, I was under the impression that voting turnout in the US is pretty good. But 55-57% doesn’t sound good at all. I guess, it’s something to do with more urban population. I know that we had a pretty good turnout in my childhood days in all our village assemblies but in the cities (where nobody has time) it has always been bad. I guess it’s not about education and awareness but the never-stopping ‘no-time’ complaints.

PS: Btw, I again missed the BAD this year – to be frank, not getting too much time to blog away from regular work.
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October 16th, 2012 | 4:07 AM

That’s okay Ajith; there will always be next year. As far as voting goes, it’s general apathy, not where people live. People think their vote means nothing so they stay home. If they understood the true power of “we” I think more people would participate.

October 17th, 2012 | 2:25 AM

Hey Mitch, the power of ‘WE’ is more far reaching than we can imagine. History has witnessed many incidents where the power of ‘WE’ has turned the tables around and I believe it is the ultimate outcome. A dictator can supress and tyrannize the public up to a certain point in time but the day the public revolts, its all over. If the public is aware of its rights and duties from the very beginning then it will be very difficult for any external power to come and rule over them.
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October 16th, 2012 | 4:37 AM

Exactly Jenny. Heck, people forget that in 2000 George Bush basically won the presidency by a little over 600 votes, and many people stayed home.

October 17th, 2012 | 2:27 AM

Mitch, this is the reason why I read your blog. Your articles are full of insightful nuggets.

I do believe “we” is a powerful concept. Every since the beginning of time people have changed unjust behavior whether they act immediately or they careful plan.

I think every election is a chance to get rid of something that is not working. If you voted for a certain change and it has not happened does not mean you made the wrong choice.

You can either keep making changes or give your choice a chance to formulate.

Changing leaders all the time can do more harm in the long run. The problem is we are in a now society.

It all started with Jody Wately’s song “What have you done for me lately”. 🙂
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October 16th, 2012 | 12:04 PM

Michael, that was Janet Jackson! Lol. And I will say that it’s not always even about voting someone out who didn’t get one specific thing done. It’s about voting one’s conscience and having a say. Change means “we” get involved because we care. If we don’t, don’t complain.

October 17th, 2012 | 2:35 AM

You are right Mitch, I knew it was a good singer. Ha Ha thanks
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October 17th, 2012 | 6:14 PM

Bravo Mitch, I love this post.

You are so right about the “we” concept. If we as a nation really wanted to change things, all they have to do is get the majority together and “we” can definitely make a huge impact. It’s happened numerous times in the past and I believe the only way to make things happen in the present and future.

When we are united, miracles can happen.

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October 16th, 2012 | 3:33 PM

Yes, exactly Adrienne. It’s been proven time and time again. Of course focus helps, and in my opinion that’s why Occupy America failed in the end. If you can’t identify what you’re fighting against, it’s hard to get people on your side.

October 17th, 2012 | 2:37 AM

First and foremost, thank you Mitch for sharing such a wonderful and thought-provoking post with us. Secondly, I must say I agree with you on all counts. This being the Presidential election year, we all have to make a choice that will make a difference to how our country functions. I think, irrespective of the choices we make, WE should cast our vote as many individuals will form a WE and that is how change will be brought about.

October 16th, 2012 | 10:14 PM

I’m with you Jack, and this year is so important to vote for all the other offices as well. Only “we” can make a difference.

October 17th, 2012 | 2:40 AM

I loved the topic for the Blog Action Day this year. We do need subtle reminders every now and then of what is the power of ‘we’. I like what you said in reply to one of the comments too. Every person retains their individuality in the power of ‘we’. It isn’t losing your identity, it is just coming together for a cause we believe in.

October 17th, 2012 | 2:12 AM

Thanks David. This is why I like the Blog Action Day type of thing, a day of collective activism towards a good cause and reflection.

October 17th, 2012 | 2:41 AM

I really like social movements like this, especially when they’re organized in the blogging scene. It sounds pretty cool, I’m looking forward to your experiences!
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October 17th, 2012 | 11:47 AM

Thanks Aniko. Of course, the experiences in general have already occurred, so all that’s left is each succeeding election.

October 18th, 2012 | 1:15 AM

Hi Mitch,

Well, first off, I’m glad I finally made it here.

The power of “we” is great, indeed. The people has power, and when they don’t it’s often out of fear of reprisal.

I had no idea about the figures your mentioning here. Thanks for the education. What I do know, tough, is that President Obama was not elected by votes from black folks only to be sure, a lot of whites voted for him as well, and lot decided no to vote at all as you mentioned.

Thank you for this educational piece 🙂
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October 17th, 2012 | 7:13 PM

No problem Sylviane. You know, there’s always other numbers that someone either doesn’t know or decides to ignore in trying to spin things one way or the other. For this article, I just wanted to tell it like it is; then again, I go for that all the time. Glad to see you here.

October 18th, 2012 | 1:16 AM

Hey Mitch, I missed reading your post on Blog Action Day. But I’m glad I did read it now. The best part of the power of ‘we’ is that it is not limited to any particular area. The power of ‘we’ can be seen in the small things we do to help a neighbor who has suffered a loss or the big things like taking out a campaign to make sure the necessary changes are brought in the country’s administration. The only thing needed to activate this power of ‘we’ is a little enthusiasm from our end to be the change that we want to see.
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October 17th, 2012 | 10:17 PM

That’s a beautiful sentiment Smith, and you’re absolutely correct. I chose the election because it’s on my mind, but you’re right. The power of “we” always manifests itself when there’s some kind of disaster, doesn’t it? In those times, every day barriers that separate people get pushed aside; that’s when it’s truly a wonderful world.

October 18th, 2012 | 1:18 AM

Hey Mitch, great post. I am glad you did this piece for Blog Action Day. It seems so apt when you think of the change we could bring about if we just get together. Also when individual thought processes come together for a cause and for the greater good, you can be sure to expect a great outcome. Like in the previous Presidential elections, people came together for a change and Obama got elected. Similarly, this year they should come together keeping in mind the good of the country and the people and vote for someone who they think would do their best.

October 18th, 2012 | 12:49 AM

That’s my thought Harry, but I also know that even with all that’s at stake, if you will, a lot of people will just stay home and not participate at all, and that’s a shame. Still, the rest will come together and even if the numbers stay low it’ll still be a power of “we”, just in fewer numbers.

October 18th, 2012 | 1:20 AM

I see a lot of people agreeing with you when you start a discussion about our rights and duties but when it comes to fulfill our duties and fight for our rights, I just see a handful of volunteers. I believe if we take charge of our life, we will not have to be afraid of anything. Just making changes in your city or nation will not help, its a fight for humanity, the right to be treated as humans, all over the world.
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October 18th, 2012 | 4:43 AM

Patrick, there are times when we have the right to be afraid, but this isn’t one of them. In almost every country around the world, at some point people fought for the right to vote for their representation instead of dealing with royalty or other forms of government calling all the shots. Yet, they get the vote and a majority won’t vote; can’t figure it out. Still, I guess the right not to vote is as strong as the other, but less fulfilling because those folks don’t get even a little bit of say in what’s going to happen to them. So your point about volunteering is strong; thanks for that.

October 19th, 2012 | 11:00 AM

Isn’t it funny, you guys have the choice to vote and many don’t take advantage of it whereas we have to vote and many vote informally. Strange that people just don’t want to have a say in how our prospective countries are run.

As to the power of ‘we’, the problem as I see it is that things have to get really bad before people decide to get together to try and make a difference.
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October 18th, 2012 | 7:20 AM

That’s a good point Sire, and yet people will find a way to become “we” and get things done eventually.

October 19th, 2012 | 11:01 AM

Yep, but at what cost?
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October 19th, 2012 | 7:22 PM

Depends on what’s important to you Sire. If all you want is to live, you do nothing and get by. But if you’re tired of subjugation, hatred, not being allowed to do anything because of skin color, sexual orientation, sex, class, or overall being seen as less of a person and thus treated that way… how much would it be worth to you to fight things like that? If you lived in a culture where someone of a higher status could do anything they wanted to and with the women in your life without retribution because you weren’t considered as in their class, how long could you deal with that sort of thing before you decided it was worth getting with others to change it?

By the way, I’m not making stuff up when I talk about that stuff. It’s those types of things that have encouraged people to band together and be willing to give their lives for change, for a better way. Sure, not everyone is brave enough to do it, but that’s why we honor those who were.
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October 19th, 2012 | 8:09 PM

Oh, I believe all that. All I’m saying is that, from what I remember from my history lessons, sometimes it takes a hell of a lot before people decide to band together in order to change things.
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October 20th, 2012 | 8:51 AM

On that we agree Sire. 🙂

October 20th, 2012 | 9:52 PM

Great points, Mitch. I think about this after most elections, when the media try to describe the results and what they mean — especially when they use the word “mandate.” If half the people aren’t voting, I think you have to adjust your analysis accordingly.

I didn’t know that statistic about the 2008 election, and I can’t say I understand it. Were the people who didn’t vote hoping Obama would lose, or were they unhappy with both candidates? I would think that anyone who wanted McCain to win would have made the effort to cast a ballot.
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October 18th, 2012 | 11:05 AM

Charles, I think the people who didn’t vote go into 3 categories. One, they don’t care. Two, they have no idea what’s going on. Or three, they don’t like any of the choices and are voicing their displeasure by not voting. As for mandates, people love screaming out that because they won they got a mandate but let’s look at reality. President Obama won 54-46 percent; hardly a mandate or an overwhelming win, and there have been closer elections as you know. The last true mandate was Clinton’s crushing of Dole; that’s when you can pretty much figure people are leaving you alone to get things done.

October 19th, 2012 | 11:09 AM

Ah, yes 😉 The power of we.

It is a great and effective power as long as we understand each other and communicate effectively (otherwise, the power of we can be disastrous.

Speaking of democratic elections, I have always thought, are the elections really democratic?

Do people really have the power to choose their government?

(I still believe that people only have limited power over choosing their government – after all, it is electoral college who really decides on a president).

October 18th, 2012 | 1:55 PM

Hi Jeevan. Yes, people do have the power via elections and democracy. We might not always like our choices but the truth is that those were the folks who decided to step forward and had skin thick enough to deal with whatever comes and whatever people have to say about them. If I didn’t have to campaign I’d go for political office; otherwise, I’d probably want to physically fight someone every day. lol

October 19th, 2012 | 11:11 AM

The whole world is divided into groups, bands, sects and this variety comes from the God. Sometimes we cannot understand why we are here, but the only thing we need to know is to unite with others who we feel are similar to us.
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October 19th, 2012 | 10:56 AM

Martin, I agree with part of that. People need to unite in common causes for sure, but at some point people need to learn how to unite and work with those who aren’t similar to them as well.

October 19th, 2012 | 8:30 PM

This post is great. People go through hard times in their life and sometimes all they need is a person to help them, so they are not going through these difficult times alone. People should work together and not separately and this way a difference can be made.

October 21st, 2012 | 8:15 PM

I like that thought Lila; yes, we should help each other when we can.

October 21st, 2012 | 8:24 PM

The percentage of people who voted was 64 percent–not 57 percent as you indicated. It was the HIGHEST voter turnout EVER. That represents a power of “We” in the sense that a grassroots effort collectively worked to get people registered. The power of “we” can be felt on many different levels when it comes to politics and in just about every single case, it starts with a “faithful few.”
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October 28th, 2012 | 4:36 PM

Actually Bev, I’ve seen different numbers, but they’re higher than the 57% I wrote, though I know I saw that number somewhere, otherwise I wouldn’t have written it. However you’re incorrect on it being the highest turnout ever, as I did get the other numbers I wrote in this article correct. Still, when you see that fewer than 2/3rds of the eligible population voted, it gives pause in one direction as to why so many don’t wish to exercise their constitutional right, and in the other direction understanding that in their own way they’re sending a signal that they don’t feel compelled enough to care one way or the other.

October 28th, 2012 | 8:32 PM

Here is where I read the information and there is also information posted by the US Census Bureau

October 28th, 2012 | 9:21 PM

Ah; and you notice it says “40 year high”? 🙂 Nixon/Humphrey has more voters.

October 28th, 2012 | 10:05 PM

Most of the times, two or more are better than one. “WE” can be better than “I”. ^_^
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October 29th, 2012 | 9:26 AM

It certainly helps make a point better Jeff.

October 30th, 2012 | 1:48 AM