The other day one of my friends was feeling depressed, so I asked him why. He said it was because all of the work that he's done to promote an important political issue, seems to be going nowhere.
"It seems like no matter what we do, it doesn't make any difference. Nothing happens. It's a waste of time," he said.
Trying to be supportive, I encouraged him to keep up the good fight. After all, I said, we just need to keep pounding away with the message and, hopefully, someday it will bear fruit. I also pointed out that we have outlets to publicize the message, including the organization's website and social media accounts.
"That doesn't mean anything," he said. "You write those articles, and it's just words on a page."
But, that's what I do and have been doing for more than 50 years. In the old days, the words literally were on a page and were typed on a rickety old manual typewriter. Today, the words are typed on a slick Apple MacBook Pro and are distributed worldwide via the internet and social media.
And, I think the result is more than "just words on a page." They do have meaning. They inform. They help form opinions. And those opinions can maybe even lead to action.
Look at the influence "words on a page" have in influencing, even setting, government policy. Look at the influence the media has in spurring Congress to act on issues that affect every single American. And, of course, the influence those "words on a page" have on the president of the United States.
I do not pretend that this blog has any such influence, but I try to inform and bring perspective -- at least my perspective -- to events of the day. To the extent that is helpful or interesting or entertaining, then I have succeeded. Even, if it ticks some people off, which I often do.
Instead of being depressed and throwing up his hands in despair, my friend needs to think about how he can strengthen his influence within his own circle of power. I've offered him this forum to express himself and comment on issues of importance, as I have with others who now regularly do so.
In the end, it may just be "words on a page" and have zero impact. Or, perhaps someone with influence and power might be encouraged to take some meaningful action. I know one thing, though, if those words are not written, they will not be seen, will not be heard, and will have no impact at all.
Words do have power and they have changed the course of history.
"Just words on a page?" I don't think so.