All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Monday, December 04, 2006

Strength in numbers translates to policy changes or When people/money talk, companies listen

Ordinary people still can make a difference when they join together.

Most people say “What’s the use of trying to change things—no one will listen”. At times, I lose heart too and despair of ever reversing a decision or changing an outcome of something I find offensive. But, TAKE HEART! The power of a united voice still is an affective tool! The secret is to get all those voices united, you know, the old strength in numbers idea. The internet has made this much easier than it used to be.

Here are a few examples:

I receive email alerts from a conservative organization called American Family Association. Their alert and action system is quite impressive—it would be great if we could get something like it going in Brookfield. The AFA organized an email alert system that notifies members about important issues. Included in this email is background information on the issue, contact information, and most importantly: a pre-written email message to the decision makers involved in the issue. (The sender can send as is or write their own.) They also send follow up information, which informs the recipient of the results of their actions. It has proven to be very effective.

Last month, two outcomes changed for the better, because of this public pressure. The first, a NBC Madonna special that was to have included the rock star hanging on a cross in a mock crucifixion scene music number. At first NBC would not budge on censoring that offensive number from her special. After 750,000 AFA supporters emailed NBC, the network decided to cancel the scene. Fearing a potential $25 million dollar loss helped to persuade the network to do the right thing. “We were effective because we stuck together and combined our voices. Our supporters not only emailed NBC, but they also called their local NBC stations. Those stations contacted NBC and the network listened. The scene is gone!”, AFA reported.

AFA’s second victory concerned Wal-mart/Sam’s stores. AFA alerted us that Wal-mart donated $60,000 to a pro-homosexual group and called for a boycott of the Wal-mart/Sam’s stores on Black Friday weekend. Evidentially, the numbers of shoppers who electronically pledged to boycott their stores was high enough to change their corporate policy. AFA then reported, “Wal-Mart Says It Will Not Make Corporate Contributions To Support Or Oppose Controversial Issues”. These reversals of policy show that many voices and the potential monetary loss still TALK! BUT these results only come from many voices.

Other groups have been successful too. The Catholic league boycotted Wal-mart last year because of the store’s anti Christmas greetings and advertising policy. Evidentially, Wal-mart felt the pinch and this year will be using the “Christmas” word in their decorating, advertising, and customer greetings.

Two brothers, Kevin and Bob Marley started a Massachusetts group: Saving Christmas in Mass. They were fed up with their retailers’ omission of Christmas. And so, the tide is turning on “Christmas” vs “holiday” because of ordinary people joining their voices (and wallets) together.

I plan to keep track of who is using Christmas in their advertising and who is not on The Christmas & Grinch Spirit Lists in case this is an issue interests you.

Coming up next: Can public pressure influence government decisions? (I know, our city does not have a very good track record!) Master Plan manipulations

FYI: Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 7:45 pm, the Common Council will have a Public Hearing: Request of the City of Brookfield Plan Commission regarding proposed amendments to the year 2020 Master Plan.


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