So much is made of the message of change. In the scheme of things, however, the method of change is far more important than the message.
Quality change rarely comes from the big institutions or authorities that dominate the world. The primary concern of big powerful moneyed interests is to stay big, cash heavy and powerful.
I am depressed today because our two "change candidates" are both talking about change being greater centralization of volunteer services.
Volunteer work is one of the few opportunities in life where people can really be creative in their lives. Greater centralization diminishes what individuals can do.
Interestingly, while service work is where individuals can be at their best. Volunteer work is also where people can be their most petty and cruel.
The great witch hunts of Salem, the East German Stasi, China's cultural revolution were largely volunteer efforts organized by political thugs.
In US Western history, we find volunteers massacring tribes of Native Americans. The Rwanda genocide was pretty much a voluntary thang.
Vigilantes are, by definition, volunteers. They voluntarily haul people to the hanging tree in response to a message for change. The KKK was a volunteer effort. Imagining poorly educated twangy voices: "I volunteer to get the matches, Duke volunteers to make a cross and Earl over there volunteers to sew up sheets into hoods." The bastards thought they were doing community service.
Many of the suicide bombers in the Mideast are volunteers who've been misled by community organizers into thinking that they are doing their civic duty.
The nattering nest of negativism called the blogosphere, of which I am a part, is a voluntary effort.
Simply because people volunteered to do something does not mean that something is necessarily good.
The message of change or the message of volunteerism doesn't necessarily make the world better. It is the method of change and the shape of the volunteer work that counts.
In the highly charged political atmosphere of 2008, I find the "bipartisan" message that we should bring volunteer and service efforts under control of a centralized authority quite troubling.