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How to Change Government

The United States is built around freedom, equality and individual rights. These basic rights include the right to vote, express religion, due process and many more. The United States is a democracy, meaning that all citizens have the right to participate in government actions.  Although the United States is considered a democracy, it is not a pure democracy, but actually a republic.  Within a republic there are still government positions, each possessing specific powers and even rank.  These officials are still elected by the citizens of the United States, but they often possess powers that cannot be altered or motivated by the common individual.  There are many different routes that can be taken in order to achieve change in the government in the United States.  These methods include a variety of pathways of action including elections pathway, lobbying pathway, court pathway, cultural pathway and grassroots mobilization pathway.

The first pathway for change is the elections pathway.  In our form of government, officials are always looking to please and satisfy the citizens so they will be re-elected.  The elections pathway relies on similar minded individuals joining together in order to strategize for winning elections.  People raise money and provide public information in order to get their ideas into the governments plans.  This is a great pathway for individuals, joined by others, who are looking for change.

The lobbying pathway takes a somewhat similar approach as the elections pathway.  The lobbying pathway involves a group of individuals joining together in order to achieve change.  In this pathway the group of people will create convincing arguments and propose plans and information to government officials.  The government officials will often listen and support the group’s cause if enough individuals are behind it.  Although the lobbying pathway is generally more time-efficient than the other pathways, it usually requires a decent sum of cash in order to be effective.

In the United States, the court is extremely powerful.   Sometimes the court possesses the decision between of life and death.  The court pathway relies on citizens’ rights in the United States. Most cases in the court pathway require the use of litigation. This approach is used when people believe officials are interpreting the law incorrectly.  The court pathway is also an expensive approach for change because lawyers are needed to argue your case.

The cultural pathway is more of a long-term method of change.  In the cultural change pathway the whole culture must be altered in order for the change to occur and be successful. Organized groups of people gather in order to present their opinions on issues to the public.  By continuously changing minds of the common individuals, more people will support the cause.  Eventually by altering the minds of individuals, government will change to satisfy the majority.

My favorite of these pathways is the grassroots mobilization pathway.  This pathway is used by motivated individuals that aim to catch the attention of the government leaders.  These individuals will often join others to plan events to reach their goal.  A common tactic used is boycotting.  The goal of a boycott is to avoid purchasing or using a specific item to the point where government is forced to notice.  This method has been extremely effective over the past few centuries.

Although each pathway takes a separate path in attempt for change of government, the most efficient pathway for change is tragedy.  My parents have always told me the most effective way of learning is through experience.  From my experience in life I have only been forced to notice that the most influential factor in change, unfortunately, is tragedy.  In order to improve we must suffer.  This form of a pathway will often require the use of another pathway in order to support it.  The most recent case involving gun control.  The right of gun possession has been a heavily debated topic for many years, and many have attempted to use a pathway for change.  Sandy Hook was an absolute tragedy that will most likely benefit activist aiming to change gun control.  Many now understand and have experienced the harm of these weapons, which will motivate these people to support change in this law.  This tragedy is is providing the support for a change in the current law.  Government class has taught me, through the different pathways, that I can have an effect on our government even if I am not in office.  If I feel strongly for something, there are different ways to support it.  I can make a difference.

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