The Corner

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Community Organizer’s Eye View


“To a hammer, everything is a nail,” the saying goes. It has always struck me as one of the truest of aphorisms. Ever meet a surgeon who didn’t want to cut? A shrink who didn’t think analysis was called for? A plastic surgeon who didn’t think something should be lifted?

To a community organizer, I now understand, everything is a “trapped in poverty,” “what happens to a dream deferred?,” narrative. The PE proposes spending $800 billion on whatever, or else “more dreams will be deferred and denied.” That was the Washington Post’s headline, as they analyzed the bailout package here. It would be easier to take it seriously if the PE suggested that middle class Americans will soon be hungry, homeless, or forced to drop out of school and work. Those are compelling pictures. Vague images of deferred dreams drying up, like “a raisin in the sun,” don’t quite want to make me mortgage my kids’ future.