Locus of Control

“What you think, you become.”
— Gandhi
In social psychology, there is a theory about people’s confidence in themselves, and how they, as individuals, deal with issues in their lives. Things such as “family of origin,” education, and employment status are taken into account. It seeks to measure what is known as the individual’s “locus of control” is.

These measures range from “internal” to “external” — with most people being somewhere in between. An internal locus of control means one believes that he/she can exercise a large degree of control in their life. An external one indicates the person views themselves as victims of circumstance.

While this is measured on the individual level, it has an impact upon groups …..including nations. It influences elections. Think about the two Democratic and three republican candidates currently running for president. Four of the five candidates talk about what they are going to do for you, people like you, and the country. And Bernie Sanders talks about what you and I need to do, and what he can do with us.

Thus, four candidates are hoping to appeal to voters’ external locus of control. Bernie is speaking to the internal locus of control. Four candidates are saying, “Trust me — I’ll do it for you,” while Bernie is saying, “Trust yourself. And we can do this.”

There are many differences between the supporters of each of the candidates. This is perhaps more true today, than at any time since April of 1968. Eventually that year, one of the most corrupt politicians in our nation’s history was elected president. The “young lions” of that era have become the elder statesmen that still have far too much influence in both the Democratic and republican party.

We need to quit looking for someone from the establishment to “save” us. They couldn’t, even if they wanted to — and that’s an open question. We need to depend upon ourselves. That is one of the best things about this Bernie Sanders campaign: he is asking each of us to step up to the plate. And so far, the Sanders campaign reflects the absolute power of the grass roots. That’s where real democracy is found — in the grass roots.

That includes your contribution. And mine. And those of all the people attending Bernie’s rallies, contributing a few bucks to his campaign, canvassing for him, and voting for him in their state’s primary. And it includes those groups that are joining together, breaking bread with people from other groups, and placing the common good first.

Just as there is a “shadow government” behind what is visible in Washington, DC, there is a shadow movement connected to, but independent of, the Sanders’s campaign. It is comprised of groups and individuals across the country, and our supporters from other lands. We do not have the economic advantages of those who work for Wall Street. We do not cling to the weapons of the violent, or shackles of the psychological prisoners. We do not engage them on the battle fields they choose. For we are insurgents.

No, we love the Natural World, and appreciate our role within it. We understand that human beings can exercise a wholesome influence that insures social justice, and enhances the quality of human life. It requires that enough people become dedicated to increasing activism within our various communities. It demands that we bring forth our best effort. And we are seeing that.

Keep on fighting that Good Fight!
Patrick R. McElligott

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