Step One: Define the Problem and Solutions
The problems and solutions are the focus of this website and all the activities which flow from it. Those are dealt with in other places on the website and will be developed over time. Once we have a game plan then we move the movers.
Step Two: Motivate the Movers
The Rule of the Vital Few (aka the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 Rule), says that a minority of efforts result in a majority of the results. This has been universally shown to be true. For our purposes it simply means any political movement or goal is going to get 80% of its momentum, success, and direction from 20% of the people. The number is not absolute. It might be 95/5; or 70/30; or 90/10. But the point is that outsized gains will be obtained by the lead of a smaller portion of any movement or organization. This should hearten us as it points out that we don’t have to convince or motivate everyone to affect change.
A similarly helpful concept is defined in Malcom Gladwell’s book the “The Tipping Point” which describes how small causes can have big impacts when they become contagious. Most importantly these impacts come quickly. They progress at a geometric rate. It is like the old trick you did as a kid where you wondered how much money you would have if you doubled your money each day for a month starting with a penny. By day 15 you would have $163.84 but by day 30 you would have $2,684,354.56. We see this same principle at work when videos go viral on the internet.
The take away is that people do have the power to move mountains if a sufficient number of them become involved and they have the right ideas at the right time. That begs the question since finding the right people and the right ideas is the hard part. But it does offer hope since you don’t have to convince, convert, or motivate the uninterested or the uniformed. The herd will follow when the real leaders change direction.
Step Three: Move the Herd
The power of the people is much greater than most would imagine. Millions of Americans moving in one direction would be a sight to behold. The single-minded power of a country moving in one direction is easily recognized in the full mobilization of our country during World War II.
America fielded 12 million troops. Fought on multiple fronts against 3 enemy powers while supplying our allies with overwhelming amounts of food, arms, and oil. Developed an unprecedented nuclear weapons program in short order. Then after winning the war, the United States set up various worldwide institutions that governed the post war era while rebuilding the defeated axis powers and organizing the resistance to Soviet Communism.
Directed by a government they respected, the AMERICAN PEOPLE bought war bonds to finance a war effort that would take the lives of many of their sons and daughters, willingly accepted the rationing of almost all goods, and often moved away from their homes to work in factories that supported the war effort. This was accomplished coming out of a decade long economic depression. Sacrifice, commitment to victory and action, were orders of the day. Complacency was not a national trait.
Our goal should be to get the group moving. But just as important as motivating the country is to prepare the country mentally to recognize the true conditions it faces. The movers should plant the seeds of resistance, water the seeds with words and deeds, work tirelessly, but understand that only in the fullness of time will the ground be ready for true change. But when it comes, it will be the “terrible swift sword” as noted in the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
We don’t know if the catalyst for change will be an obvious challenge like Pearl Harbor or something more organic within the political process. But the reaction will be unmistakable. Changes are about to happen that most believe are not possible.
Step Four: Small Steps Can Work
I believe the recent debate over authorizing war in Syria is one of the most important political development in decades. It is the first time I can remember that people from all persuasions spoke with one voice to the system and said no. President Obama was desperate for approval of air strikes inside Syria and offered one half-baked argument after another. The Saudi’s were livid when he couldn’t make it happen. The Israeli’s were disappointed because they hoped U.S. action would prevent the Syrian Government from getting the upper hand in the conflict.
Neither of these two countries are lightweights. The U.S. has always relied on the Saudi’s to make up any shortage in world oil demand to keep the global economy humming. The Saudi’s provide colossal economic advantages to U.S. by agreeing to price oil in dollars. The Israeli’s receive the most money of any foreign country from the U.S. and have a lobby that is unmatched in influence. But it didn’t happen.
Undoubtedly, others had impact on this decision behind closed doors that we may never know about. But it was accomplished because We the People responded. Big results begin with small steps when taken by many people. One person writing their Congressional Representative might not seem like much, but in numbers, it is tremendously effective. People cannot take from us what we are unwilling to give. If we resolve to act together, we can move mountains.