His tactics - "Rules for Radicals" - she had analyzed in her college senior thesis. What stuck with us was the lesson to figure out the informal leadership in a neighborhood, then press that button.
Later, as that face began to represent entrenched politics, community organizer Barack Obama brought new lessons.
Part of the "The Audacity of Hope" was insight about leveraging technology to blow up the status quo. Smart. After all, digital communications got him elected twice.
That's what I have been amazed to discover here in Eastern Ohio.
Take the dog poop problem. Which no one seemed to want to bother witn one section of a 400-unit residential complex, the feces were piling up. In general, neighbors ignored it. "I don't look" was the standard answer. Many were Millennials, saving up to buy a house which is affordable in this region.
Then, in the process of talking this situation up, I hit up against that informal leader.
From growing up in a dysfunctional family, she knew her way around making the intolerable okay. Tirelessly she directly complained to onsite property management, the out-of-town management company, and more.
She gave us handful of vigilantes their contact information.
She "deputized" us to police the area and confront miscreants.
I added the bit of creativity of identifying myself as a member of the mythical formal Committee to Eradicate Dog Poop Menace. As dogs were in the process of defecating, we stood by. A waste disposal bag in our hand. A grim look on our face.
A stunner. No more unpicked-up dog poop.
Over-70, no, I don't have to move to a better maintained complex. Like those old ladies in pre-gentrified Jersey City, New Jersey, I can look forward to being found dead in an apartment I will live in forever. How comforting in these turbulent times.
The Obama tech fundamental produced change even faster. After all, that's how tech operates.
The first time I tried that out was last year. I was determined not let a national financial institution get away with having made a mistake on my investment account and wasting my time. At first I huffed and puffed. Nothing. Then I blogged about it.
Two departments of the bank called me. Both compensated me for my "inconvenience." That was classified as a "credit." This week I will find out how the IRS treats that bit of a windfall.
In the same year, a client stiffed me. I turned that over to a collection agency. Nothing was happening until I blogged about the legalities involved. I knew them from watching crime shows, fictional and real, on television. Payment was made to the debt collector the day the post appeared.
Flushed with success, I am reaching back into the past, assessing what wrongs I can now right. And applying rules for radicals, with plenty of hope.
My little life on planet earth had not been an easy one. God bless America and political mentors ranging from Alinsky to Obama.
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