Across The Great Divide (just grab your hat and take that ride)

29Aug07

 

Ok, I’m going to hijack the blog. If anyone has an issue with this, I suggest posting.

 

Yet another personal story intro: Last week, a friend came to visit and had in tow a friend she had made while working at a summer camp these past few months. For days we talked about the infinite issues in the world and their approaches and solutions, which are mighty admirable direct action services. Late the last night in town, lounging in a park, I began to explain what I was doing. Without going into specifics here, I explained that I worked for a group that took private money and turned it into public service via pro bono legal work. And that one of the big donors is Pfizer.

None too happy that I praised them for their bit of social contribution, she lost it about how corporations get away with not giving anything and that it’s only done for show and tax benefits. While I wholeheartedly agreed with her, I proportionally disagreed with the accusatory approach. People function and ‘obey’ much better through reward rather than punishment; making Pfizer feel bad about what they do give would only discourage them from upping their contributions, which they have done annually so far.

 

This is the problem with the left. We all dream of this magical world where everything is just and equal and communal but find only our path as noteworthy. When one acts the way this friend o’friend did, the receiving party starts feeling self-conscious and guilty, pulling father away from social justice activities. Why would someone want to contribute to a world which tells them they are sellouts and acts about as unappreciative as a trophy wife’s daughter on her 16th birthday? Grace, class, and tact enhance your stance in most challenges.

 

While the right has their ‘never speak ill of a fellow Republican’ bullshit, we have self-destructive post-modern notions of difference. Rather than actually acting on ‘multicultural’ values of co-existence, it seems that liberal tolerance has turned into ‘you go your way, I’ll go mine and question why you aren’t as smart or radical or cool or entrenched as me to follow.’ Don’t get me wrong, questioning always has its place (look at how arrogance has caused the current ruling party to literally implode) but whatever happened to actually utilizing all these different ideas and ways so as to be creative and embrace the intricacies of social beings? Uh…did power sneak onto this ‘progressive’ scene in a rather offensive manner?

 

Not only do left thinking, social justice based folk need to encourage, rather than discourage, ANY amount of support, we need to recognize the reality of the world we live in while trying to change it. You can’t rebuild New Orleans without money from the 9-5 profiteers. You can’t build a school without a tax base from people who are salaried rather than hourly. You can’t conduct AIDS research in Africa without private income from for-profit entities. And if people feel good about ‘investment’ in the social sphere, they will give more.

 

We need everyone on board, in whatever form possible. Build bridges, not derogatory shields. Personally, I don’t care if the money doesn’t come with heart; use the money to create the tools so as to eventually win the heart. Of everyone. One of the hardest challenges of being a so-called liberal is actual acceptance, even if it must be enacted with a Taoist smirk.

 

Think we could do that? Smile with an alternative rather than scream at a problem?

 

Uh…we shall see.

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2 Responses to “Across The Great Divide (just grab your hat and take that ride)”


  1. 1 Createurs de Luxe
  2. 2 TIE Institute

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