Making It All Work

Thursday, March 15, 2012

In one of her recent appearances, Sarah Palin once again denounced community activism as a “radical” calling. I am not sure what she thinks community activism is, but there really isn't anything radical about it.

When I was young and naïve, I used to think that business in the USA worked in spite of the government. As I grew older, I began to realize that that the government works on behalf of business but not so much for the little guy. This is where community organizing and activism comes in. A person sees a need in their community, figures out how to fund it and solves the problem.

Diane, my dear wife, is a good example of this. She saw a need for 16 to 21 year olds to get better instruction prior to GED testing. She created a workforce development program that included GED preparation and basic job skills training. She found the funding and got the program running and now she is helping twenty to thirty a year who had previously fallen through the cracks.

The fact is, community organizers work in spite of the current political climate. Not everyone was willing to help the people Diane was reaching out to. She met people who told her those kids “had their chance, so why should we help them?”. She took the position that she would keep asking for help until those no's became yes's.

Is being tenacious a radical idea? Is finding ways to help your fellow citizens a notorious plot? I don't think so. Good advocates and organizers see a need and find a way to solve it. If you feel this is some sort of radical agenda, I feel bad for you. Helping someone is kindness not radicalism.


  1. For once Sarah Palin has a point (but probably by default not intention)"Radical" in its exact sense does mean to the root of or fundamental to. I doubt she chose the word out of exactness though; she was more likely trying to be "with it man!"
    Without Community Activism we would all be doomed to the insidious complacency of politicians.

  2. Lets see radicals from the past that may have formed Governor Palin's opion:
    Black Panthers - group opposed to racism
    The Weathermen - offshoot of the Revolutionary Youth Movement, a group for self determination (personal freedom maybe?)
    Draft Card Burning 18 year olds - people who rebelled against to idea of forced conscription (taxation) before being allowed to vote (representation) while the voting age was 21

    Such unsavory ideas for a free democratic society.

  3. I appreciate the sentiment, but no one (including me) does anything alone...but I suppose that is the foundation of "Community" Activism...that sometimes it is the people on the ground in the community who can figure out how to make things work and/or change something that isn't working for the better. Kudos to all those who do this every day.


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