Exploring the Eclipse of Equality

Posts Tagged ‘problem solving’

Safe as Doctors: Organizing the wrong community

In Uncategorized on March 10, 2010 at 10:51 am

Because the health bill debate has lingered so long in media hospice, we have to consider it periodically. The best argument I have seen on the issue in the past few weeks comes from the right. Michael Gerson has an unsympathetic analysis of the political context in which this bill has led to the current malaise. I think he may be a bit jubilant (in a quiet way), and the bill still has a good chance to pass, and once passed to begin to have a happy career. But today, things are pretty bleak and Gerson is remarkably even handed in diagnosing the illness.

Intriguingly enough, this may be where a conflict resolution perspective is potentially debilitating. To see where I am coming from, let me return to the scene on September 3 2008 where Sarah Palin gave us the following infamous lines:

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities. I might add that in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.

This moment is so infamous because Palin was dismissive of one of the most popular styles of progressive reform: what we more commonly call capacity building, when we give the skill a name. Community organizers were rightly outraged by this attack on their best asset, and Palin, like Glenn Beck, was savvy in her identification of the reform approach that she most disdains.  For this strain of conservatism, the enemy really is Teddy Roosevelt. It was Roosevelt Read the rest of this entry »