Understanding Grassroots Movements and Public Policy

Written by  //  2014/11/28  //  Career Planning  //  Comments Off on Understanding Grassroots Movements and Public Policy

When it comes to public policy, many people think of it as elected officials passing laws that affects society. That is only partially true. Public policy is a field that deals with the written and unspoken principles upon which a society’s laws are based. This can come from elected officials, lobbyists, non-profit, businesses, and the general public. In other words everyone has the ability to create and influence new public policy.

In more tangible terms, public policy deals with the actions that governments take to better, maintain or worsen an array of social problems. Laws, regulations and overall policy making procedures that affect society and its laws are branched together under the purview of effective public policy.

Grassroots movements and public policy obviously go hand-in-hand since grassroots movements seek to tap into a community’s political feeling and shape public policy based on those sentiments. It is the grassroots movements that tend to have the largest effect on elected officials and public policy. These movements are often formed to influence certain issues within the government.

Grassroots Movements and Organizational Change

Some problems require community meetings, erecting posters and creating email marketing campaigns to raise awareness around an issue before institutional change can take place.

As an example, research shows that low-income minorities are disproportionately victimized by environmental toxins and lax EPA standards. Raising awareness about these issues through grassroots movements in hard-hit areas is a great way to eventually change public policy.

Grassroots Movements and Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is the notion that internet service providers like Comcast should treat all internet data the same way and not charge exorbitant fees or slow down certain websites that fail to pay new fees.

Public policy is concerned with looking at how well grassroots movements achieve social objectives, such as keeping the internet free of unnecessary restrictions. Therefore, a grassroots movement that raises public awareness and shifts public opinion is a very valuable tool against the billions of dollars lobbyists and internet service providers have spent to defeat grassroots movements supporting net neutrality.

Learn More with a Masters

A master’s degree in public policy can help you understand the keys and impediments to political change and how to harness grassroots movements for public policy benefits. For example, a New England College online masters of public policy can bridge the gap between analytical public policy and administrative public policy.

Public Policy and 21st Century Problems

The field of public policy goes far beyond any one issue and includes laws and standards that affect human rights, civil rights and government services. For example, environmentalism and net neutrality are just two among literally hundreds of public policy debates currently going on around the country. Many grassroots movements are created to influence these issues within the government to sway the outcome in their favor.

Creating grassroots movements is a great way to influence public officials and public policy. It takes a lot of work and time to get involved, especially if you are trying to influence a major issue in your local community, state, or country. However, it is worth it and governments tend to function better when they are kept in check by the general public getting involved in grassroots movements.

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