The problem of the disenfranchisement of ex-felons is still timely in the twenty-first century. Ex-felons are being deprived of their legitimate right to vote in many countries around the world, including the developed states. Whereas most people realize that this kind of discrimination is a contravention of the principles of democracy, some individuals support the current state of things. As a rule, the intention to remove ex-felons from the political decision-making bases on a series of common prejudices. Thus, some people fear that ex-felons’ participation in the election process might increase the number of violations and make the procedure less fair or transparent. Others assume that ex-felons will be likely to cast their votes in favor of dishonest candidates.
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The assumptions described above are certainly ungrounded and irrational. The disenfranchisement of ex-felons should be regarded as a discrimination of a particular social stratum as well as any other expression of intolerance. Therefore, the question arises regarding the possible resolutions of this problem. The experience shows that social activity is an efficient tool for the right’s protection. Hence, various advocacy groups have proved to play a significant role in improving the situation with discrimination on the ground of race, gender, and religion (Homan, 2015).
In order to work out an effective strategy for implementing necessary changes, one can turn to the help of the leadership and advocacy policies. The practice shows that the only way to put an end to social injustice is to deprive it of legitimacy (Hegtvedt & Johnson, 2009). In other words, the problem will be eliminated on condition that the authorities adopt a relevant law that would forbid the disenfranchisement of ex-felons. In this case, advocacy and leadership might become highly helpful tools for furthering the initiative.
The concepts of leadership and advocacy have a lot in common, and, meanwhile, they possess a series of significant distinctions. In fact, these approaches might be regarded as two components of one effective tool. In order to make one’s social activity fruitful, one needs to understand the specificity of the tools and approaches he or she is going to employ.
Thus, the main difference between advocacy and leadership is that advocacy implies a particular set of actions, while leadership implies a particular manner of performance. In the case of ex-felons’ disenfranchisement, advocacy will be used to adopt the necessary law, whereas leadership will be employed to complete this task as efficiently as possible.
The next distinction between advocacy and leadership is the initial principle of both concepts. Hence, advocacy necessarily implies the change of the situation; its ultimate aim is that things become different from what they used to be. As to leadership, change is not an indispensable condition for this type of activity. Certain leaders might, on the contrary, focus on the aim of preserving the current state of things or to maintaining a particular level of performance (Harrington & Williams, 2004). In the context of ex-felons’ disenfranchisement, the advocacy’s targeting seems to be more precise and practical.
The third difference between the two approaches might be represented by the tool base that these activities employ. As long as the main aim of advocacy is to bring a problem to light, its tool base includes all the resources that are popular with the society, including mass media and open discussion platforms. According to some specialists, leadership, in its turn, employs other tools such as intellectual stimulation and inspiration (Bass, 1999). In such a manner, in the case of the disenfranchisement of ex-felons, advocacy can employ leadership as an efficient tool in order to draw the public’s attention and outline the problem via a powerful appeal of a well-known leader.
In spite of the differences mentioned above, it is evident that any changes in the relevant issue are more likely to take place on the condition that both advocacy and leadership are implemented. Therefore, the promotion of social changes will equally depend on the strategy and the manner of the planned activity. One might presume that the involvement of influential leaders in the process will have a positive effect on the ultimate outcomes. The history has a lot of examples proving the efficiency of leadership’s intervention into the resolution of socially acute problems (Avolio, Walumbwa & Weber, 2009). As a result, the impressive appeal of a charismatic leader is likely to change the general attitude of the society towards the disenfranchisement of ex-felons. According to researchers, a persuasive message sent by a talented transformational leader is sometimes the determining factor of the entire performance (Kuhnert & Lewis, 1987).
As to advocacy, it will become a favorable framework for the leaders’ activity. Thus, various protest groups and community services might appear with the help of advocacy. Meanwhile, the productive work of these services, as well as the work of any company or office, will require the employment of professional leaders, which shows how intertwined these concepts are in practice (Vinzant & Vinzant,1996). Hence, if one understands the differences between the two concepts, he or she can apply them most effectively, and, thus, implement the changes in the disenfranchisement problem in the shortest period.
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Harrington, D., & Williams, B. (2004). Moving the quality effort forward—The emerging role of the middle manager. Managing Service Quality, 14(4), 297-306. Web.
Hegtvedt, K. A., & Johnson, C. (2009). Power and justice: Toward an understanding of legitimacy. American Behavioral Scientist, 53(3), 376-399. Web.
Homan, M.S. (2015). Promoting community change: Making it happen in the real world. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage. Web.
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