A new poll has found that Americans think that the best way to make a positive change in society is through volunteering and charities, not politics, which they see as a ‘waste of time’ as they cannot get anything done.
The USA TODAY/Bipartisan Policy Center poll overwhelmingly indicated that those who took part would not consider running for political office, and many expressed concerns over engagement with other civic activities as jury duty.
The amount of money involved in running political campaigns and the negativity surrounding politicians and the political processes appears to have dissuaded some of these individuals from political office. Then how are the young to change the world for the better? If they cannot alter government policy, what else can they do to have an impact on the world and the future generations to come?
One could become a nurse and heal the sick, or train to be a teacher, filling the minds of children with the knowledge to succeed. More notably, the poll mentioned that 4 in 10 of those surveyed were involved in volunteering, as it was reported that 2 to 1 felt that the best way to help and instigate change in society was through working with charities, not through government. One of the reasons for this include witnessing an immediate response in helping people by making a positive contribution.
Like the increasingly unpopular career of a politician, (particularly post-phone hacking) many people regularly quiz me on why I want to go into journalism, when print is supposedly dying, the industry is changing, it is well-known as a difficult job with little pay, and the profession is thought of as untrustworthy.
The answer to this is simply because I feel I can make a positive contribution. It is not because I feel I am an incredible writer, but I enjoy it. I feel inclined to make a difference, and journalism and the media is where I see the best chance for myself in instigating change, uncovering truth, and encouraging new ways of contemplating issues integral to our society. While this work may not show an immediate change, it is a crucial role that must be filled, and more significantly, is my will to make that difference – as opposed to any tangible action – which is ever important.
It is only by encouraging and inspiring this positive behaviour of the ability to make a difference in our young people that we can hope to achieve confidence in the capability of the next generation.
Is politics really such a painstaking war of ideologies, game-playing and point-scoring? Perhaps, but there is still the capacity for positive change. Britain has just seen through a bill passed into law granting equal rights for same-sex couples to marry, which has been generally well-received as a positive contribution to society.
This capacity for change, however, should not be solely focused on traditionally useful jobs, whether that be through politics, journalism or charity work. The opportunity for having an impact lies far beyond the traditional sphere of ‘worthy’ jobs, such as a fire-fighter or a medical researcher. We do not have to save a life or cure cancer to make our mark.
Everyone has an individual role to play in society, and can all have an impact on many lives with what we do everyday. The sole presence of one human being in the world has an impact on the world around them, and with the intention of exerting a positive influence to those people, we make our difference. It does not have to be an immediate change, or a life-changing one.
Many individuals feel a duty to make a difference to the lives of the many. In a world of 7 billion humans, this is no easy task, but it should be applauded in all walks of life, regardless of the historical significance of their impact.