You have the power and the responsibility to defend democracy and to create a society of individualized empowerment for all. Society is not a magical super god that can give or withhold quality of life. Society is nothing more than what you do and think everyday. You are the society. When you speak, society speaks. When you change, society changes. When you expose, turn off the ads, and boycott the interests that support the far right, they are weakened instantly. When enough people do it, their power is gone. They have little money except what we give them.
Individualized empowerment leads to the empowerment society. However, this will not occur through advocacy as usual. It is not enough for us to meet the President of the USA or the Mayor of the city in which we live; we must also vote, all of us. We must not only vote and petition government, we must become the government, through official positions, and through 365-days a year citizen advocacy. We must create a social environment in which no person who requires public support (elected officials, business owners in our communities, the media) could afford to overlook individualized empowerment for all.
We need aggressive leadership to increase our passion and our tiny empowerment society, one hundred fold. We need leaders who are ready to live, and if necessary to die, for democracy.
You can lead. Unlike some leaders, you will not be able to buy multimillion-dollar ad campaigns. But if you reach out constantly, repetitively with love and truth, spoken and lived, to everyone in your personal universe, you can be a walking, rolling, and talking ad for individualized empowerment. No money can buy that. Your truth in action will change the part of society that you are to empowerment society. The intensity of your loving truthful action will be a powerful influence on others.
Here are ten ways to make this democratic dream live:
1. Change life as usual. Turn off escapist television and game shows. Stop time consuming and expensive travel and recreation. Instead, devote the time to passionate advocacy for individualized empowerment.
2. Give up politically and socially correct conversations and become a single minded, repetitious communicator of the message of individualized empowerment. Your message must be so powerful and so repeated that it registers in people’s minds even though you say nothing.
3. Speak to people with words of love, giving them sincere, loving praise for the distinct positives that everybody has. They will be glad to see you coming and be far more likely to internalize your message of individualized empowerment.
4. Recruit your family members and friends first. People from age one to a hundred can be good advocates. Severely disabled people living in nursing homes can be good advocates. Small babies and dogs can carry buttons and signs with great effect.
5. Become a politician, promoting individualized and societal empowerment everyday through all political processes. Volunteer and contribute money to the campaigns of politicians who speak and act with individualized empowerment. Get into politics as if your life depended on it, because it does. The lives of your children’s children depend upon it too.
6. Become a media person— write letters to the editors, participate in radio and TV talk shows, become friends with media employees, businesses, and political staff. Become a media professional.
7. Use electronic technology to send out brief talking points on the issues. Make sure they are 100% accurate. Most political advocacy is obvious exaggeration. Individualized empowerment is accurate and truthful.
8. Be an aggressive participant in your local and national advocacy organizations from AAPD, LCCR, CCD, NCIL, ADAPT, DREDF, People First, Psychiatric Survivors, and People for the American Way to your local independent living centers, disability and civil rights coalitions. If you support them, they will support your advocacy for individualized empowerment.
9. If there is no cross disability action group in your area, form one. Empowerment happens when people come together.
10. Send your message of love and truth with action. You will be surprised how small demonstrations at political, media, or business offices can change attitudes.
We have the ultimate powers to change the flow of society: we have people, truth, and love. Together with our own individualized empowerment, we can move society, be society, and legitimize democracy for the people and by the people.
Reprinted with permission from Yoshiko Dart, Justin’s widow.