Don’t Discredit Change

For my Writing for Social Change class, we were asked to write a letter to an editor.  It was great to get this assignment, as most of the writing I have been asked to do in high school and college has been essays, research papers, articles, and creative writing assignments.  It was interesting to work on a letter to an editor.

Don’t Discredit Change

September 25, 2010

Dear Editor:

In regards to your “Obama’s legacy: Mourning in America” article (Op-Ed, Sept. 22), I agree that a whisper can sometimes be the only way to be heard when everyone is shouting.  This was a smart public relations campaign strategy for Citizens for the Republic.

However, I think you make a mistake when you debase the legacy Obama and other political figures want to leave.

Throughout your article, you discredit the passion, motivation, and dedication it takes to change things in the world.  The world is not in a healthy state of affairs — it needs passionate, dedicated people to take up causes and make a difference.

So I am confused why you say this is sad.  Why is it sad to want to make a difference in this world, to change what is unjust and in need of improvement?

When you say it is sad for Obama and other presidents to want to make their mark, create a legacy, and go down in history as having made a difference, I think you are viewing the desire to promote change in a very negative light.  Change has been necessary throughout history.

The civil rights movement combined peaceful protests, speeches, marches, and other forms of social activism to break down the established rule of segregation and inequality.

The women’s rights movement gained for women the right to vote, as well as many other rights.  Without people voicing and acting on their dissidence, you might not have been able to write this article.

And the current Invisible Children campaign, started by American college students, has effectively raised awareness and held demonstrations to change the terrible reality of child soldiers in Uganda.

It seems that you are discrediting the motives of many non-governmental organizations, governmental campaigns, and people.  The value of opinions, action, and change is inestimable.

With your discrediting of change, you are effectively creating a Huxleyan world of contentment, where people won’t want to change anything because it creates discomfort and requires more effort than compliance.

If we continue to view change and improvement in a negative light, our world will turn into a dystopian world of contentment.  People will be unwilling to stand up and create a stir if they feel something is not right, because they will have been taught that change is unfavorable and difficult, and that going with the way things are is right.


Marlena Chertock


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