Some Thoughts on Community Organizing

There’s the conservative way, and there’s the Progressive way.  Below are examples of each, beginning with the conservative version.

One Saturday, Grant Bennett got up on a ladder outside his two-story [house] intent on dislodging a hornets’ nest, which had formed between an air-conditioning unit and a second floor window….  The hornets went right at him, and he fell off the ladder, breaking his foot….  Romney learned what had happened and went over that afternoon to see if there was anything he could do….

About nine thirty that Sunday night, Romney reappeared…carrying a bucket, a piece of hose, and a couple of screwdrivers.  “He said, ‘I noticed you hadn’t gotten rid of the hornets,'” Bennett recalled.  “I said, ‘Mitt you don’t need to do that.’  He said, I’m here, and I’m going to do it….  You demonstrated that doing it on a ladder is not a good idea.'”  Romney went at it from inside the house, opening a window enough to dislodge it.  Soon the hornets were gone.

Hmm….  Problem solving on the fly, too.

Romney’s acts of charity extended beyond just the church community.  After his friend and neighbor Joseph O’Donnell lost a son, Joey, to cystic fibrosis…Romney helped lead a community effort to build Joey’s park, a playground…in Belmont.  “There he was with a hammer in his belt, the Mitt nobody sees,” O’Donnell said.

Romney didn’t stop there.  About a year later, it became apparent that the park would need regular maintenance and repairs.  “The next thing I know, my wife calls me up and says, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but Mitt Romney is down with a bunch of Boy Scouts and kids and they’re working on the park,'” said O’Donnell….

Hmm….  Staying in it for the long term.  And the kicker:

[Romney] did it for like the next five years, without ever calling to say, “We’re doing this,” without a reporter in tow, not looking for any credit.

On the other hand, Saul Alinsky pointed out the essential ego involved in Progressive community organizing:

The organizer’s job is to inseminate an invitation for himself, to agitate, introduce ideas, get people pregnant with hope and a desire for change and to identify you as the person most qualified for this purpose.

Layered on top of this, his community organizer operated from a fundamental mindset of manufactured conflict:

Here our concern is with that tactic of taking; how the Have-Nots can take power away from the Haves.

Never mind that, just as in any economic, or other social, endeavor, it’s not a zero-sum game.  Power sharing (getting to the sharing is, indeed, often a source of conflict in) is power growth for all.  The difference is the difference between consent of the governed and top-down government control.

Progressive community organizing—protesting, threatening disruption or charges of racism, if accession to demandsagreement wasn’t achieved—was used to force 14 major banks to agree to turn a $55 million, 11-city lending program over to ACORN to manage.

Then-community organizer Barack Obama led an education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (co-founded by that “guy who lived in his neighborhood,” Bill Ayers) that fed over $100 million to community organizers and radical education activists.

So, why am I only providing Romney examples on the conservative side, but providing a range of Progressives and their activities?  Full disclosure: I support Mitt Romney for President.  That’s not the reason for the focus, though.  Romney is famous, so descriptions of this sort of thing get out, regardless of modesty.  Conservatives, generally, just do it, without seeking credit.  Ordinary Americans’ acts of kindness, of organizing actions for the benefit of their communities, don’t get publicized, because that’s not the goal of the acts.  If it were, they wouldn’t be acts of kindness or benefits for their community, but acts of self-aggrandizement, of glory-hounding.  Of personal political gain.

h/t to Power Line for the Romney anecdotes.

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