About Randy Shaw

Randy Shaw is the Director of San Francisco's Tenderloin Housing Clinic and the Editor-in-Chief of the online daily newspaper "Beyond Chron." He is the author of three books, "Beyond the Fields", "The Activist's Handbook", and "Reclaiming America".

Comments

  1. Joe Weinstein says:

    We should take careful note why right-wingers and Tea-Party types promote volunteerism as the be-all and end-all approach to treating social ills. The right-wing idea is to eventually get everyone to unthinkingly and reflexively reject reject as bad such concepts as ‘welfare state’ and ‘entitlement’. For them, social ills are to be treated not with a combination of guaranteed law and justice with voluntary charity and mercy; but with voluntary charity and mercy only. Of course, though right-wingers may claim or imagine otherwise, their stance contradicts that found already in the Bible. Biblical laws and prophets demanded basic help for the poor and disadvantaged as a matter not only of feel-good charity and mercy but as a matter also and even more of basic law and justice.

    We should also open our eyes to the obsolete nature of our constitutionally mandated system of public decision (of laws and policies). It may have been progressive 200 years ago, but it isn’t now. It overtly gives all public decision power to elites of long-term-serving officers. The power of ordinary citizens is reduced to episodic popularity-contest voting. Maybe Obama and some other politicians sometimes are – or pretend to be – interested in charitably sharing some of their power with the rest of us, but in fact nothing constitutionally forces them to do so as a matter of right and law, not mere charity and mercy.

    Randy’s final subheading badly understates the need: Democracy requires far more than mere public ‘input’ – which uncharitable politicians are now free to disregard. It requires actually turning over decision-making to many short-term teams of citizens rather than concentrating it in a few long-term officer elites.

  2. Apparently President George H. Bush never saw the need for banks and bankers to become either kinder or gentler…What is wrong with this picture? Roll back the interest rates to the level the Bible dictates, if God Himself is happy with “the tenth part”, what right did the Feds have in freeing the banking system with this last vestige of moral restraint? We are drowning in debt due to the lavish spending we were encouraged to believe we could afford in the 80s and 90s…The same goes for the homes we were encourage to buy.

  3. One of the albatrosses perennially hanging around the neck of Change is the inclination in people to cease the hard work, commitment, and constant tinkering once a “goal” is reached. But Change is constant, as the old adage reminds us, and is indeed “the only unchanging thing in life.” When we reach a goal–such as the election of Barack Obama in 2008–the proponents of Change shouldn’t cease and desist just because the goal was attained. Proponents of Change need to continue with their push to implement, educate, monitor, refine, and educate and refine again. It’s an ongoing cycle to insure that the Change “takes,” like a vaccination.

    It’s too bad that the political infrastructure of the 2008 push for societal and governmental change was dismantled once the immediate goal–victory–was achieved. We must remember that it often takes 5-8 years or so to institute a particular Change, to internalize its precepts into the people who will implement it and live with it. This is what research studies have often shown in the past. This reinforces the hard work that accompanies Change: very hard work, for it is ongoing until the Change is fully embraced to the point that it becomes an integral part of our societal fabric.

    And the other reality, also supported by decades of research, is that Change is difficult for most people to adopt. Even small Change can be devastating on many levels to many people. It is unfortunate that our President made so many heavy-duty promises of Change and inferred that these would be accomplished quickly under his leadership. Society’s hopes were raised unrealistically. He realized the limits of his promises, of course, once he assumed office. Now we everyday Americans must also accept those realities and continue advocating for the Changes our society needs. The difference, however, is that we should realistically realize that they indeed could NOT have been accomplished in our President’s first year or first term.

Speak Your Mind

*

Visit us on Google+