You Can Make a Difference

I’m sure you’ve seen one. A black mass of dots, expanding and contracting as it floats across the sky, changing direction at random. I’m talking about starling murmurations. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of starlings flying together in intricate, coordinated patterns. If we take the time to slow down and look, it is something to behold. I know what you’re thinking. What do starling murmurations have to do with politics? Everything, actually.

The purpose of the murmurations is believed to be to bring all other starlings to the same area in order to find a place to roost together. Sounds kind of like what we do. There are seamless transfers of leadership, but there is no one single starling wielding all the power and strength. Each starling is paying attention to what the seven other birds around it are doing and stays with them.

The best teams realize that every individual on the team is important. A quarterback would have to be a super athlete to be able to make touchdowns without any wide receivers to throw to or offensive linemen to keep him from getting sacked. A pitcher relies on his catcher to call the right pitch type. You might say, what can one person do to make a difference for a political party? A lot when you begin to add your efforts to those of the seven starlings around you.

One person can put out flyers that can be seen by hundreds of people. One person can write a blog shared and seen by thousands. One person can have a conversation with a lawmaker that can keep bad legislation from being passed.

If you're not sure who your representative is, visit and type your zipcode in the search bar.

If you’re looking for your state senators, visit and choose your state from the drop-down menu.

When House representatives and senators have conversations with the people they represent, they are held accountable. They're not royalty. They have a job just like you and me. The difference you make may seem small in the beginning, but you never know who's watching and being inspired by what you're doing. I imagine it might be more than just the seven starlings around you.

A murmuration of starlings at Gretna

A murmuration of starlings at Gretna
A large number of starlings congregate at Gretna at sunset during the winter months to perform a spectacular flying display before roosting in nearby conifer plantations.

© Copyright Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


About Kenn Phillips

AvatarKenn Phillips is a correctional lieutenant, a US Navy veteran, father of four sons and husband to a wonderful, supportive and understanding wife. His hobbies include hiking, cycling and collecting patches from first responders/corrections/military.