Want to be Heard? Join a Group.

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When you are one of more than 300 million people clamoring for a voice in government and the direction of your society, you have to feel you have no voice. But that feeling stems from a lack of awareness or acceptance of the concept of big country democracy. In a large population, democracy moves on the choral voice of groups. If you want your voice heard, you must become a joiner, or become enormously wealthy. Groups and money are heard in a large democracy: usually, only groups and money. What groups have you joined or supported with dollars?

When one talks of groups in politics, political parties immediately come to mind. But, America's two dominant political parties are themselves made up of various smaller groups, competing to become the dominant voices in their party, often in a highly competitive manner. However, in America, with the advent of the internet, politically focused groups are growing in number at an unprecedented rate, like Moveon.Org and GOPUSA. And with these groups come the bane of American politics, lobbyists.

First a note about why groups are so powerful in a democratic society. Those in power to make decisions for the society, culture, and government, seek to retain their positions of power. If power wasn't important to them, they wouldn't be in that position in the first place. Hence, if a group's voice is sufficiently loud enough to threaten the removal of a person from power, that person in power will very likely find a way to yield to that group's interest and agenda.

There is an entire branch of mathematics now created to model groups seeking voice in policy. It is called network modeling. And it is taking the democratic world by storm. If having a voice in this world is important to you, you must develop an interest in network modeling. An example will prove the point.

A woman in a remote Kenyan village has a cousin who needs to get a letter off to a person in London who may help him, gratis, with his case with the Kenyan government. The cousin offers the woman his next new born calf if she can get this letter off to London.

In their village, there is no internet, no phones, no courier service, no FedEx or UPS. The woman spends the next week visiting everyone she knows in and around the village asking if they know someone who is leaving the village to a town or city in the next week or so. They all say no.

The woman returns the letter to her cousin with apologies, saying she can't find anyone who knows how to get this letter out of the village. At that moment, the woman's Aunt who lives in Nairobi, drives up to visit overnight. The Aunt agrees to drop the letter off at the FedEx store in Nairobi when she returns. The day is saved for the woman who gets the calf, the cousin who gets his letter off to the London barrister, and the Aunt who just dropped in to visit and see if there was anything she could do to help her niece. (Inspired by a TV program on networking).

Communication opens doors, creates opportunities, and makes things happen. In politics, communication between groups of people with a common interest, allowing them to organize and speak with one voice, or obstruct the goals and intentions of those in power, can alter the course of social, cultural, and governmental policy.

So, what group should you join? What are your interests for social, cultural, or governmental change? There is likely a group already in place waiting to welcome your voice and support toward effecting that change. As an individual without great wealth, your voice has no volume, and will not be heard over the din of others. Your choice is simple, become a billionaire, join a group, or, resign yourself to having no influence whatsoever over the direction of social, cultural, or governmental affairs.

A note about wealth. Wealthy persons are capable of funding group's outreach programs to recruit volunteers, supporters, voters, and membership rolls. Wealth is an incredibly potent force in the formation of groups and agendas pursued in our society and government. It is impossible to avoid stating the obvious here regarding policy voice; wealthy persons fund candidates to offices of power where the agenda of the wealthy donors will be represented and fostered in social, cultural, and governmental policy making. The non-wealthy can pool contributions to create a competitive influence against the wealthy. The non-wealthy often fail to recognize the importance of their small $5 potential contribution in this way.

Below is a sample list of web sites where one can begin their search for a group to join. Do a little homework: Find and join a group which can amplify your voice making it heard.

Open Secrets.

Wikipedia PACs.

Google's Advocacy Groups

American Citizen

And of course, there is my favorite and highly recommended advocacy group, Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy.

So, what groups have you joined or support with dollars?

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on May 28, 2009 3:04 AM.

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