Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Abel asks, reasonably enough, about my last post whether people were universally hopeless - or whether some of them had solutions.  The short answer is that a few had opinions on what might help turn things around, but most didn't know what to do about our predicament -- unless you consider "somebody needs to do something," a plan.  Another common proposal was, "We'll have to make do with less," which is a reasonable response, but not a solution in the classic sense.  And almost universally, people didn't feel like any of their leaders were leading on the issue.

But we (and our clients) knew that going in, because otherwise we'd already have a strong current of public support for practical solutions -- like policies to support working families and the middle class.  But we don't.

The point of this project is to help progressive advocates (who have plenty of proposed solutions they'd like to put into practice) make their case -- and, not incidentally, get leaders and elected officials to push that case as well.  So these conversations were first and foremost to map out the cognitive and cultural terrain wherein proposed solutions get heard and evaluated - accepted or rejected - understood or misunderstood.  And another part of this project involves interviews with advocates, with business leaders and with policy makers.  Over the next several months we'll work to bridge the gap between what the experts want to convey, and what the public has been able to hear.

Though personally, I can be pessimistic, I'm glad that I earn my living working for the optimists.  They might be right after all.