Lack of Mobility in America UnAmerican

AmericaThe United States is a country on the go, but it’s easier for some Americans to get there than others. According to the Podiatric Medical Association of America about 7% of Americans suffer from limb loss, and about 20% of Americans suffer from a condition resulting in different sized feet. Factors contributing to this include diabetes, cancer, bone related deformities, and accidents. That’s 86 million Americans who face a difficult time fulfilling the most basic task necessary to be a functional member of society – buying shoes.

Most of us take for granted the ability to buy shoes. We are limited only by size, comfort, and a style that fits our pocketbook. For tens of millions of people, however, this seemingly mundane task is fraught with difficulty and unnecessary waste.  Americans who do not have two feet of the same size are forced to buy shoes in matched pairs, effectively discarding the other shoe. The Center for Mobility Disparity estimates that tens of millions of dollars are wasted each year on shoes that are not needed and never worn.  “It’s really a national epidemic,” says center director George Hassenfield.  “Most Americans have no idea of the struggle that shoe challenged Americans face.  It hits women and minorities particularly hard.” Continue reading

The Community Organizer is Back

When Senator Obama was running for the nation’s highest office, his list of resume enhancers included the nebulous position of “community organizer.”  Nobody really knew what the heck that meant, only that it held an air of respectability and responsibility somewhere between Jesus and the Artful Dodger.   The community organizer shtick provided fodder even for Sarah Palin, who defended her time as mayor of a small Alaskan town as “sort of like being a community organizer, but with real responsibility.”

The industry of “community organizing” is really more about politics and power than improving the lives of the needy.  It’s a tradition that dates from the backstreets of Rome to the better organized machines of Tammany Hall.   The Affordable Care Act may be the greatest act of community organizing to date, and it sheds light on what being a community organizer is really about. Continue reading