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Journal Reflection # 1
In my perspective, power is the ability of a person to act in a particular way. It is the ability of a person to react in a specific way in order to influence a course of event or behavior of individuals. In political science, power is the ability of a person to influence the actions of others (Shively 25). I agree with this statement as if a person has a specific power, then he/she is more likely to influence the conducts of others. I believe that power can be utilized in both a positive and negative manner. It can be used to attain specific rights in society. However, on the other hand, a person can utilize it to exert pressure over weak people. Therefore, it is completely based on the perspective of an individual that how he/she is willing to use that power. In my perspective, citizens are widely shaping their society and government by the assertion of power in different ways. It is notable to mention that citizens are illiterate that how much power do they possess and how can they utilize it. I believe that the lack of understanding regarding power benefits the few, but in reality, it is catastrophic for others.
In a democratic state like the United States, citizens are responsible to elect government officials through voting. I believe that citizens have one of the most important powers in a democratic state as they can elect any person through their right to vote. The right to vote places citizens to a significant level as, without their vote, a person is unable to become government official (Mik-Meyer, Nanna, and Villardsen 31). It is highly necessary to understand the fact that citizens can persuade and pressurize a government official through their right to vote. If used properly, citizens can easily compel government officials to make decisions that are in the best interest of citizens. It is noteworthy to mention that citizens can also assert their power through peaceful protests. I believe that citizens have the power to influence government regarding a specific issue. Use of peaceful protests is a significant and effective way to exert power in a society. Citizens have the right to use nonviolent resistance tactics to demonstrate their power in a specific community. I believe that nonviolent resistance tactics such as protest art, community education and consciousness-raising, vigils, marches, and information warfare are efficient tools to illustrate power in society.
As a citizen of the United States, I have exerted my power in a particular case. I was once participated in a campaign to compel development authority in my region to revise its decision regarding the reconstruction of a garden into a mall. I had a lot of childhood memories of that specific park. It is important to consider the fact that the park was a source for me to attain physical fitness. The decision of development authorities regarding the construction of a mall in place of the garden was highly disappointing for each and every one of us in that region. I started an online campaign with the help of my friends in which we aware people regarding the decision of development authorities. The online campaign helped us to spread the news of that particular issue. After a while, I persuaded people to take part in a nonviolent protest to raise this issue on the state level. I am pleased to say that my campaign gets significant support from thousands of peoples. Extensive criticism from citizens forced development authorities to change their decision regarding a mall. I believe that the effective use of power as a citizen helped me to get success in my purpose. Instead of making illegal moves or activities, I decided to deal with that situation in a legal way, which proved to be highly effective.
It is important to mention that citizens have the potential to create a major change in society. They significantly influence government officials in order to get specific rights in society. I believe that the steps of citizens to create change have both positive and negative aspects. Initiatives of citizens are considered as a check on the activities of legislations (Kittilson, Caul, and Schwindt-Bayer 995). If citizens take steps in order to create change, then I believe that it makes the legislature more responsive. If something bad happens in the society, which is not in favor of citizens, then citizens can take steps such as online campaign or peaceful protests to show their power. Government is unlikely to establish or implement a policy, which is not in favor of citizens. However, on the other hand, citizens can also utilize the concept of power to fulfil their illegal desires. I believe that citizens can utilize their power by taking initiatives that are not in the best interest of the country in the long term. Citizens can take steps to manipulate government to take some initiatives that might contribute to the overall failure of a society. Furthermore, if citizens begin to take steps in order to make a change, then they might develop a negative perception regarding the use of power. I believe that it has the potential to lead people towards the use of civil disobedience. Therefore, it is essential for an individual to understand the concept of ‘use of power'. Proper understanding of this concept will be helpful for an individual to contribute towards the overall success of the country.
Kittilson, Miki Caul, and Leslie Schwindt-Bayer. "Engaging citizens: The role of power-sharing institutions." The Journal of Politics 72.4 (2010): 990-1002.
Mik-Meyer, Nanna, and Kaspar Villardsen. Power and welfare: understanding citizens' encounters with state welfare. Routledge, 2012.
Shively, W. Phillips. Power & choice: An introduction to political science. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2011.
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