The Power Behind the ‘Average Joe’
Bernie Sanders and Roy Moore, are examples of politicians from different parties doing the same thing- tapping into the power of the ‘average Joe’ and their grassroots movements. Bernie Sander’s original bid for president of the United States was originally viewed as a fringe campaign, an independent going against the “democratic establishment”. Yet, through harnessing the power of the majority, he raised eight million dollars- in a single day. Roy Moore initially started off without the support of major GOP leaders, yet still won the republican primaries. Even after the claims of his sexual harassment of women surfaced, he still is leading in polls against Doug Jones. The reason that both Sanders and Moore were able/are able to be successful politically is because they tap into the grassroots capacity of their parties. What we can take from Sanders and Moore is our need to tap into our own grassroots capacity.
Sanders and Moore are advocates for the majority, the normal, ‘average Joe’ democrats and republicans. They are people who understand the power the ‘average Joe’s’ have. We, are the ‘average Joe’ and we do not understand the power we hold. We can change the way politicians look at issues like workforce development, immigration, and especially education. In Colorado, specifically, the average Joe’s have changed the way education is viewed within our own state. The key way this was done, was by the majority realizing the true power behind their grassroots moments.
One example of Colorado’s grassroots capacity is seen through the PARCC test. The PARCC test is a standardized test that is agreed on by most to be the single greatest time waster of the modern era. Luckily, Colorado state legislators have now reduced the testing requirements needed in high school. Kim Redd is a longtime educational advocate in Colorado and she claims that the reason state legislators changed testing requirements was because of grassroots activism, “…students have protested, parents have opted their children out of tests, the State Board of Education has spoken out”. When the ‘average Joe’ talked and took advantage of their true grassroots power, change happened. This is just one example of the true grassroots power the average hold.
Bernie Sanders and Roy Moore understand the grassroots capacity of the average Joe. We, ourselves, do not seem to understand our own power. We forget that Sanders and Moore would be nowhere without us. The ‘average Joe’ is the backbone of American democracy- we can not forget that. We need to collectively realize the power we hold and take advantage of it. The fight for equal education in Colorado is not over, several small towns suffer from teacher droughts, the graduation rate of Hispanic students is almost 15% less than their white counterparts, and getting access to resources for college continues to be a struggle for the minority.
The way to fix these issues is to take advantage of the grassroots power we hold. As Kim Redd says, “Change [in education] occurs through both a grassroots level as well as a legislative level”. Taking action, talking to state legislators, calling national representatives, attending town-hall meetings, making donations, are all small things we can do to take advantage of our own grassroots power. If Bernie Sanders and Roy Moore were able to recognize the sheer mass of might that comes from the ‘average Joe’s’, it is about time we do as well.