The little things that matter
Senator Jonathan Schurz / Guest Opinion
UAF Sophomore | Jan. 31, 2011
A judge once said that “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. And when it dies there, (In their hearts) no constitution, law, or court can save it.” Today’s common wisdom is that the little things that we do don’t matter. I often hear “I don’t want to get involved with this because it won’t make a difference; They are going to do what they want to do anyway.”
Another common thing that people say is “What difference does it make whether I vote or not? Both candidates are corrupt politicians!” The truth is that even our smallest efforts can help bring about larger change. Yet, vast change doesn’t just spontaneously happen. Instead, it is often the result of smaller steps, a goal slowly along until it reaches a milestone, or turning point.
While it is true that in many places a few seemingly hold power over an organization, movement, business or social group; the leadership in all of these is not necessarily static. There is always a mechanism to bring about change, new life, and new blood to that entity or organization. In all of these, small groups at the grass level have new or better ideas. For the groups that can persevere, as they gain strength and numbers, they invariably prevail, and bring great change to the entity. History is rife with examples of these small groups of Can-do people that have brought about big changes.
One easy way that we can bring change is by voting. It is surprising how many people say their vote doesn’t mean anything. It’s common knowledge that over half the voting population in the United States does not vote. This means that our elections are often decided by 24-25% of the public. Surprised? Don’t be. Not only does this happen in the United States, but in Europe, and throughout the rest of the world. People the whole world over are convinced that their votes are worthless, and so they don’t bother voting. One can only imagine how different history would have been
if more people voted. And one must imagine: If people neglect to vote on our highest and most important elections, how much more so for the ones of lesser import?
Another way that we can help bring change is by talking and venting. Many of us have ideas and feelings, but because they have gone unexpressed, they are only have a hodgepodge of unrelated thoughts and ideals. When we speak of them, we find that they can be of a somewhat contradictory manner, rather than being clear, in agreement, and able to go someplace. By sitting down with a group of friends and acquaintances, talking and venting reveals on a magnitude the indecision and clash of our ideas and ideals. This is why individually talking out our thoughts and expressing our passions and what really burns us up is so vital to any process of meaningful change. It is sort of like an iron bar where the molecular poles of iron are pointing in all directions so that the potential power of this iron bar is all cancelled out. However, even the smallest alignment of these contradictory poles of opinion within that bar occur — a new latent power starts becoming evident — a magnetism that can effect something or someone both internally and externally.
Thomas Paine once said that “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” We need to remember that freedom isn’t automatic. It takes effort to maintain. Although your efforts may seem weak or even worthless, the truth is that your smallest efforts do make a difference. Our individual votes do add up, and when we talk with others about our ideas, they begin to line up internally, and exude strength. Remember: It’s the little things that count!