The Power of Advocates
“Advocates are always rocking the boat about something.” We have heard that comment more that once while at the capitol. We have also heard “the only boat that is not rocking is one that is not going anywhere.” These comments show the power of advocacy as seen in both a positive and negative light.
An Effective Advocate
There is no one more powerful than an informed and educated advocate who understands the system they are trying to change. These advocates command attention and have the respect of both their friends and foes. These advocates can and do make a difference.
There is a second kind of advocate who commands attention. This type of advocate burns all their bridges in attempting to further their agenda. They view advocacy as “us against them” and they expect change to occur overnight. When it doesn’t, they attack anything and everyone who fails to live up to their expectations. Like the first type of advocate, this advocate gets the attention of their friends and foes. However the attention they get does nothing to further their cause and if often times leads to their issue being viewed in an extremely negative light.
Can citizen involvement make a difference? Take a look at the battle for civil rights, in less than twenty years advocates went from fighting “Jim Crow” laws to voting, to running for congress. That did not happen by advocates sitting on the sidelines watching the game. It happened when they took an active role, became involved, and fought for change. You cannot change any system without understanding how that system’s game is played, who the players are, and what the rules are. Once you know that, it is time to become an active participant in the game.