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Response to President Obama’s Call for Individual & Collective Action for the Common Good

This is something that Democrats & Republicans, Liberals & Conservatives can work together on in the spirit of the unity in diversity which the President said is our true wealth and strength.

Below is a piece I wrote after President Obama's first election in 2009. We have accomplished some of the suggestions contained therein here in Cobb through the formation and activities of the Cobb United for Change Coalition however there is still work to do. This is something that Democrats & Republicans, Liberals & Conservatives can work together on in the spirit of the unity in diversity which the President said is our true wealth and strength.

Response to President Obama’s Call for Individual & Collective Action for the Common Good:

“YES WE CAN” 

A: Stressbusters Town Hall Meetings: “What is Causing Your Dis-Stress?”

B: “Solutions for Surviving & Advancing in Hard Times”

C. “Community T.E.A.M. Building: ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’ ”

 The re-election of President Obama has inspired and called Americans of all backgrounds, including our elected and community leaders, to come together and seek solutions for our problems that do no harm to anyone and advance everyone, through acts of individual and collective action for the common good—as in Dr. King’s vision of our “network of mutuality”.  Herein follows our response:

A: Stressbusters Town Hall Meetings: “What is Causing You Dis-Stress?”

 One way in which this can be done, especially on the local level, is to have inclusive community dialogues/town hall meetings with the goal of identifying the real issues and coming up with mutually beneficial solutions and compromises which satisfy most everyone--with the only ones “self-excluded” or “self-marginalized" being those who are not willing to dialogue, compromise, and work together. For instance, let us get together and find out what the real or perceived problems people are having and help solve those problems, such as:

B: “Solutions for Surviving & Advancing in Hard Times”

  • "There are no jobs": This will likely be the big one (though it is not really true in most cases), so we’ll have a program or workshops to help unemployed people find work and connect with the jobs which are out there.
  • "No Healthcare": We’ll connect people to the free and sliding scale clinics out there—or open  new ones, and teach people prevention methods.
  • "Child/Parenting/School problems":  We’ll have programs and training to address these issues and we can recruit and train grandparents and others to volunteer in the schools and with parents.
  • “No Money”: We’ll connect people to entrepreneur support services, cooperative saving and loan programs, as well as grants and social service programs.
  • “No Food”: Provide connections to food stamp program, food bank assistance, co-op gardens, and help form Food Cooperatives.
  • “Housing Problems”: Cooperative housing programs and foreclosure prevention.
  • “Crime/Immigration/Terrorism”: Most of the above will ultimately solve the crime/immigration/terrorism issues if we build and maintain a spiritual foundation for each and every solution and approach, emphasizing the inherent dignity of each human being.
  • “Relationship Issues”: Again, most will be solved or prevented by addressing the other issues and by maintaining a spiritual perspective wherein we value and respect our own selves and each other. In reality, even and especially in hard times, relationships become stronger and healthier when people are working together in this spirit for the common good.

C. “Community T.E.A.M. Building: Together Everyone Achieves More”

As we assist and empower individuals to identify and address these issues, which they will do in small group, task force or team structures, they will learn and be empowered to form “Community T.E.A.M. s” which will help sustain the progress made and ensure the whole program becomes self-sustainable.

"In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality."
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service relationship to humanity.”  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

To work with us on this program in Cobb or to start one in your area, contact: pilgrim1@mindspring.com or 404-573-1199.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Erik Fernald November 21, 2012 at 02:05 AM
I think fantasyland is a good place in Disney World. Communism did not work 400 years ago, 40 years ago, nor today. This direction is a farce. The "fake" programs and worse yet "false hope" yet projected will set us further back as a society. Healthy competition, which is severely lacking, is the only way to move a society "forward" as you push false agendas. This "movement" is about as far away from what Dr. King had envisioned as possible. How you actually believe this narrative is more painful than the one you attempt to push upon others. I am not sure what is worse, a Jehovah's witness at my door or a democrat stuffing the ballot box with false conjecture.
Atl Resident November 21, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Obama has been a horrible President and a Great Divider of the is nation! Socialism and Communism NNNNNo!
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino November 21, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Thanks for your comment Erik. I too enjoy Disney World and have found that I learn a lot from children. I also agree that Communism didn't and doesn't work however I also believe that a combination of capitalism and socialism, which is what we already have to a great degree, can work if we all work together and realize that no one or one philosophy or one system has all the answers but all have some good and we can learn from each other. That is why I try to work with the Tea Party, the Dems, the Repubs, the Libs, Conservs, Libertarians, Black Panthers, you name em. They/we all have a piece of the puzzle and that is the key and what Dr. King talked about. (By the way, I was part of his movement back then and still am and work closely with those who were his closest friends, family and allies and have a pretty good idea about what his agenda was.) We can have his "beloved community" if we work together. But first, especially us white males, have to humble a bit and realize that we don't know everything...and really, know very little when it comes to how to work together for the common good of all. That is an area in which we need to take some lessons.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino November 21, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Thanks for your opinion however apparently you are in the minority in this belief. I for one, believe that he is the symbol of a great new American cultural revolution in this country (and I am not a democrat and disagree with many of his policies) with a long awaited power shift from white, old men who have had their time and now it is over. Now it is time to value our diversity in its fullness and not just pay lip service. Regardless, read my reply above--we can and are willing to value and work with everyone, whether we agree or not. And more often than not I have found that we have more points of agreement than differences!
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino November 21, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Oh, sorry, I meant to add...that this is not just talk or wishful thinking but that we have formed such diverse coalitions, in Cobb it is called, Cobb United for Change Coalition, which is actually implementing these ideas and actions for the betterment of those who wish to participate from all backgrounds and strata.You are welcome to participate and can contact me at pilgrim1@mindspring.com for info. (I see that you are part of the Optimist Club,--great name--and it is a fraternal order or social good club that is patterned after exactly what I have written.
electric123 November 22, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Obama is no worse than George W, who surpassed Jimmy Carter as our worse president in history
30080 November 27, 2012 at 02:09 AM
You referenced one of my favorite concepts "the common good". It's been too long since I've heard someone mention that. "Epistle of Barnabas": "Do not live entirely isolated, having retreated into yourselves, as if you were already [fully] justified, but gather instead to seek together the common good."
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino November 27, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Yes, I have often said that Jesus Christ would have been labeled a socialist reformer in this society by many of the same people who claim to worship and revere him on the "Christian right" and who label everyone they don't like as socialists. Hmmmm....

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