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Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Movement Runs On the Power of One


 The Power Of One

          One song can spark a moment,
         One flower can wake the dream.
        One tree can start a forest,
       One bird can herald spring.

     One smile begins a friendship,
    One handclasp lifts a soul.
    One star can guide a ship at sea,
    One word can frame the goal.

    One vote can change a nation,
    One sunbeam lights a room.
     One candle wipes out darkness,
      One laugh will conquer gloom.

        One step must start each journey,
           One word must start each prayer.
               One hope will raise our spirits,
                  One touch can show you care.

                         One voice can speak with wisdom,
                             One heart can know what's true.
                                One life can make the difference,
                                   You see, IT'S UP TO YOU!


~ Author Unknown~

According to sociologist Doug McAdam's political process model, a social movement is a continuous phenomenon that thrives on the ability of the progressive community to capitalize on political opportunities and translate such opportunities into social change. (Doug McAdam, Political Process and the Development of the Black Insurgency 1930-1970, 1999)

Significant social movements have accompanied every generation of American society. Many social movements were based on political or religious convictions that heightened the desire to fight discrimination, improve health conditions, or ease economic tensions. (Bill J. Bostic, "Social Movement,"Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, www.learningtogive.org, 2011) 
 
Remember American history class and lessons about various important social movements? The textbooks told of many. These important American movements included the following:
* anti-poverty movements
* civil rights movements
* unemployment movements
* sanitary regulations movements
* childcare movements
* the suffrage movements

Great anxiety, frustration, and hostility lead to the emergence of a social movement. Still, movements initially meet significant resistance. Many individuals who comprise a large society have personal reasons to resist change. One basic human reaction to any new idea is show resistance. 
 
These three models may illustrate how a social movement can progress:

1. A Systematic Strain on Social Infrastructure of the Political System occurs.

2. Social Resources Become Accessible To Aggrieved Groups.
 
3. Political Power and Sociological Factors Become Volatile. Conservatism encourages political members to "resist changes that would threaten their current realization of their interests even more than they seek changes which would enhance their interests."(Doug McAdam, Political Process and the Development of the Black Insurgency 1930-1970, 1999) It is a continuous phenomenon that thrives on the interplay of four factors:
  • Emergence of broad socioeconomic processes that expand the capacity for more political opportunities over an extended period of time.

  • "Readiness" of the indigenous organizations when the political opportunities become available.

  • Emergence of a collective consciousness among the challenging groups that encourages the belief that the movement is leading in a successful direction.

  • Ability to win the support of external groups in order to broaden the opposition against the conservative political structure.
The present movement to save the nation from the terrible consequences of prescription drug abuse finds itself in a time of golden opportunity. No one in society can escape the tremendous strains due to this epidemic: it endangers health, safety, and the pursuit of happiness. Drug abuse negatively relates to crime rates, health costs, welfare states, minimal educational achievements, and general depression. Most importantly, drug abuse results in debilitated citizens, lifelong incarceration, and dead human beings.

The movement began with very limited social resources for a group of people who were suffering the cruelties of family destruction, disease, and death. At the time of its inception, the movement against prescription drug abuse drew minimal political awareness because many people believed improving the deplorable conditions was impossible and because the power of the pharmaceutical industry had already gained a widely accepted stranglehold on the country.

Despite tremendous resistance and indifference, the movement has taken strong root. In the last year alone, thousands, even millions, have educated themselves and now realize they live with the grim realities of the Prescription Nation. And, the roots have grown toward needed resources. In addition to proposing new legislation, states have elected officials who support needed change to combat the problem.

The movement depends upon political alignment of groups within the greater social environment. And, all positive alignment will create an even great perception of success.

More and more new groups have started within the movement to meet the needs of those suffering the consequences of prescription drug abuse. As new resources appear, the changes have drawn positive reactions from the press and from the government.

Yet, print and legislators are not enough to tackle a hungry monster.

You see, to accomplish significant reforms, the prescription drug movement looks to the individual. Each personal commitment of active, collective support will help insure the success of needed changes. Each attitude of indifference will only aid those who continue to inflict harm. These greedy people will continue to accept money while we bury family members and friends. The time has come for all good people in a nation awash in chemicals to stand together and take steps to end the problem of drug abuse. We each hold a piece of a new, beautiful puzzle. The task of completion remains.

The Power of One -- It's Up To You.



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