Posted by Mitch Mitchell 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.