I’m back on the road, talking with interesting people every night. Many of them ask questions about “changing the system.” Everyone agrees it’s broken and frustration is expressed all around. But what is this system, why isn’t it working, and how can we change it?
When we talk about “the system” we are talking about a structure and a set of entrenched powers. There’s a political system, which favors incumbents and redistricting along party lines. There’s an educational system, which favors conformity and standardized evaluation. There’s an economic system, which tends to focus revitalization efforts on reviving older industries (auto manufacturing, for example) instead of teaching people new skills (creative self-employment of all kinds).
Systems are broken because they exist to sustain themselves, and the people who run the system rely on the system to stay the same. Why should they change it up? It works well for them.
Thus we ask: When will the system change?
The answer isn’t that complicated, and it’s not about marching on Washington or fighting the man. (Who is this unnamed man? It’s hard to fight a moving and anonymous target.)
The simple answer is that the system will change when people change. As people adapt to something different, as the popular mood shifts, as we move on from old ways of thinking—that’s when change comes about.
If you want something to change, therefore, show us an alternative. Show us a new way of life.
You are the role model. Not the politician, not the celebrity, not the evangelist. Don’t throw up your hands in resignation, and don’t look for another leader.
It’s all on you, in other words. No pressure.