According to a Politico article by Kenneth Vogel and Maggie Habberman yet another Obama guy is reaching into the financial honey pot to extract gobs of financial goodies. By now no one should surprised by the crassness of this sort of transition including the creepy exploitation of “organizing” language for its polar opposite – top down messaging.
Viewed through the lens of broad based community organizing the Obama political enterprise has advanced the cause of democratic practice not at all. In fact the utilitarian bias present in his youthful decision to leave after a brief fling with organizing work in Chicago blossomed inside of a mechanized political apparatus embodied by men like Jim Messina.
Sadly from my point of view, the man once attacked by his political enemies as the Community Organizer in Chief has turned his back on precisely the kind of local inquiry, debate, discussion, and action that lies at the heart of the broad based community organizing enterprise. As a result there has been a cascade of negative consequences including a severed relationship with ordinary people, a gaping power vacuum into which the early Tea Party stepped and a deepening divide between Washington, DC politics and everybody else.
It could have turned out differently. Maybe it still could. Imagine what real attention at the highest levels of government to grassroots interests, innovations and accomplishments might achieve.
Frank C. Pierson, Jr.
Frank Pierson retired after forty years of work with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) as a professional organizer. He began his career in 1971 in Chicago, moved to Queens, New York City and migrated west to work in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado. He resides with his wife, Mary Ellen Kazda, in Oracle, Arizona. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org