Many times, during political and cultural discussions regarding the status quo, business, political activity or even the charged events going on around us, you’ll hear the last words of the argument: It doesn’t matter how you feel about it or what you say, no-one’s going to listen to what you have to say. It’s one of those popular aphorisms that sound true, but simply aren’t. You can’t fight city hall. If it were such a good idea, they’d be selling them already. Your vote doesn’t matter, it’s rigged from the beginning.
Except that these things have been shown to be false, time and again. Still these things persist in society. In fact, these myths are just as hard to kill as: Giant alligators in the New York sewers, chupacabra, the Jersey Devil, tracking you with the new anti-counterfeiting mechanisms in our money.
Without having to cite history as a proof, let’s just stick with current events. The Arab Spring was started over one man’s protest (via self immolation) over the high prices of food, barriers to entry to compete in the market place and poor working opportunities in general. Since this one man voiced his protest, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya have seen their established governments fall.
In our own country of the USA, we have seen the Occupy Wall Street movement. It has changed the dialogue in our country. It has highlighted the difference between the .01% at the very apex of the financial pyramid versus the 99.99% holding up that base. It has done so to the point that even our potential candidates for Office have had to address their stand on this.
Just recently, two bills that purport to protect us from the evils of corruption on the internet, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act,) through loud and vocal online protests were couched and delayed for a later (hopefully, on the part of legislature, a more propitious) time to even come to a vote. Both of these bills were basically being put on the table to make it harder for individuals and small businesses to conduct business on the internet. These bills were essentially lobbied for by large companies in the TV, Music and Movie industries as well as Computer companies.
Even more recently, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation announced that they are pulling funding to all Planned Parenthood centers for breast screening and breast cancer services. While it was claimed it wasn’t done for political reasons (the report is that they caved in to right wing anti-abortion groups pressure) it was pretty clearly one of the most unpopular things made public in recent history. After less than five days of intense protests, pressure and activism on the part of people who expressed their outrage, disappointment and even a small scale revolt within the ranks of local affiliates of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, they first backpedaled and then retracted their position.
While these actions are not permanent, what in this world really is? We, the American People, have been witness to a War on Women since the failure to ratify the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) since 1972 (ERA passed but failed to ratify, though it was introduced into Congress every year since 1922) and Roe v. Wade in 1973 respectively. We have seen the enactment and subsequent repeal of Prohibition, the enactment of the Controlled Substances Act (1970) and the current backlash in the growth of decriminalization of marijuana and the allowance of medical marijuana dispensaries.
It just goes to show you that your voice does matter – if you use it. One lone voice in the wilderness is generally not enough to enact a change. Sometimes it takes millions of voices, all raised in protest or in unison. And on some occasions, your one voice may be like the one that makes the final difference. It could be like in “Horton Hears a Who,” where that last Whovillean’s voice allowed others besides Horton to hear them, resulting in saving them from certain destruction by an uncaring, unbelieving group who thought they knew better.
So the next time you hear someone say, “It doesn’t matter, no-one’s listening anyway,” tell them they’re wrong and show them the most recent examples of SOPA, PIPA, Occupy Wall Street and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. Voices, raised in protest, in unison and demanding change do work. That’s simply not possible if no-one’s listening anyway.
You have a voice. Use it. It matters. People are listening.
Occupy Your Mind