Reform America
We the People demanding a voice.
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Politics & Power

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Reforming America: A Little Can Do A Lot

When you think about change it is easy to focus on the big things that need to be done. Sometimes if you want to bring about effective change though, you need to think small. Change comes through many small acts and it is the nature of those small acts that determines the shape of the larger change. For example, if you are looking to increase the overall security of an area you need to have the people of the area invested in that change. If they are not willing to take the necessary steps to reinforce the larger community effort to reduce danger and increase safety the effort will fail. The focus then needs to be on individuals taking those small steps that support the desired outcome i.e. increased police presence does little to reduce crime if people in the area donít report the crimes happening around them and cooperate in the prosecution of the criminals. You therefore need to make it easier for them to do the right thing.

To bring about systemic change you have to make sure the support structure for that change is established with the people most directly affected by the change in question. To do that you must get people to help in ways that are not too painful or foreign for them. Returning to the crime reduction example, studies have shown that when crimes are able to be reported anonymously there is greater reporting. When the fear of retribution is removed from the equation more people are willing to give up information to get the dangerous people out of their neighborhoods. So instead of trying to get people to come forward publicly during an investigation you would do well to set up and widely promote anonymous tip lines to report crimes giving people who want to do the right thing a safer way to do it. It is a small change in tactics that asks little of the person helping yet it can bring big change over time.

Another example of achieving big by thinking small is fundraising through multiple small efforts instead of trying to go after all the money you need in one big chunk. While it would be great for every school to get a million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation itís not going to happen. For those schools not fortunate enough to get the large lump sums, PTAs and other supporters need to think more like the organizations who put change donation boards and jars in every business they can convince to let them. Each one does not bring in a lot but cumulatively they raise millions of dollars through those efforts every year. While most local businesses probably will not open their wallets directly they might allow the donation jars on their counters so itís worth asking. In the long run it can work to the benefit of the business as well in terms of increased patronage by the families of the children at the schools being helped.

Working for larger change is important but sometimes thinking small will achieve your goals far more effectively than trying to go for the whole enchilada every time. Most people donít feel overly burdened doing something seemingly insignificant to them to help others or bring about a desired change. Dropping some change in a can or making an anonymous phone call are relatively painless things to do. Likewise spending an afternoon washing cars or crushing cans to support the cause is not terribly hard to convince people to do. In the end these things wonít bring about change overnight but they do get people in the mindset of doing a little work to bring about positive change and makes them more supportive of the effort in general. Creating a culture of change requires a lot of people willing to make small efforts. By making it easy for them to take those first steps you create a situation where people are more open to the idea that they can make a difference.

With each successive small effort you build the culture needed to bring about more substantial change. In most cases people donít even realize that their mindsets are even changing until they have changed dramatically. One day they wake up and realize that they donít think about things the same way that they used to and that things are better for it. They often canít even imagine ever going back to the way things were before. All of this started with small acts that were not painful at all but did great good.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom | Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article



Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to: stories@reform-america.net



Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to stories@reform-america.net





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