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It's a common observation that organizations, after a while, develop a life and inertia of their own. People tend to get together for a common purpose -- but once that purpose has been achieved, it's hard to let go and let the organization expire.

There are several groups today that fit that description quite thoroughly. In each case, their initial goal was to address a particular problem. And in each case, the utter elimination of that problem was never a realistic goal -- no, what they intended was to change the public mindset about that problem. And in each case, they succeeded.

And then they had to figure out what the hell to do with themselves next. They started out with a goal, and formed a group to reach that goal. Now they're a group in need of a new goal.

The first one that came to mind is Mothers Against Drunk Driving. When they started up, driving while intoxicated was seen as a fairly trivial matter. Hell, it was a stock comic situation -- someone falling-down drunk getting behind the wheel and careering off into the night, sometimes making it home and sometimes ending up in some humorous crash.

(Yes, it really was that way. Take my word for it -- I'm just barely old enough to remember those days.)

They succeeded. Now, drunk drivers are considered marginally above child molesters in the public's eye. After any particularly heinous case, there are plenty of calls for even more draconian penalties. And lawmakers, eager to not appear "soft" on drunk drivers, often let themselves get caught up in the frenzy.

(Mind you, I'm NOT complaining about this. I'm just noting it as a sign of MADD's success.)

With that, you'd think MADD would declare victory and go home. But apparently, when you get a bunch of mothers together to protect us from ourselves, they just can't turn it off. Now they've moved on to new goals -- the elimination of alcohol on Amtrak trains for passengers, mandatory seat belt and motorcycle helmet laws, ever-lowering legal definitions of intoxication, and so on.

Thanks, but no thanks. Go back to your own children, moms. Most of us are grown-ups, and can make our own decisions.

Then theres MoveOn. They're a bunch of liberal activists (way, way liberal activists -- "moonbats" wouldn't be unkind) who got together in reaction to the Clinton impeachment. They wanted to get the whole country to "MoveOn" after his acquittal and address more important concerns.

Hey, MoveOn! Clinton was acquitted about a dozen years ago. We've had three presidential elections since that did NOT feature William Jefferson Clinton on the ballot. He's been out of public office for nigh on a decade now. We've MovedOn. Why the hell can't you?

How about the March of Dimes? (Thanks for this example, Wild Willie. I remembered your comment from 2007.) Originally, they were raising money for polio -- research into treatment and prevention, as well as treatment for the victims.

And damn, they pulled it off. The March of Dimes was founded in 1938, and in 1955 the polio vaccine was announced. The practical extermination of the disease is taking a bit longer, but most of the world is rid of it.

So, what to do next? The heads of the March of Dimes decided they ought to keep doing good, so they widened their focus to the problems of newborns in general -- birth defects, premature births, and infant mortality in general.

How about the NAACP? The whole focus of the civil rights movement was not to eliminate racism -- let's be honest, we'll always have racism and racists. That's a fundamental aspect of human nature. It ain't gonna change -- we'll always find ways to exclude other people, resent them, fear them, and try to exploit and oppress them.

No, what the civil rights movement was about was changing society's attitude towards racism. It was to not only eliminate the legal protections racial discrimination, but to fundamentally change the way such things were perceived.

And they succeeded. Succeeded wildly. The casual racism of previous generations, once tolerated and dismissed, is now absolutely intolerable. As recently as the 1970s, I personally witnessed it -- a drunken guy praising Dionne Warwick as "a pretty good singer, for a darkie" and a then-elderly man (I think he was in his 70's) cussing at his TV whenever a "jigaboo" won on "The Price Is Right."

That sort of thing would get you ostracized these days. Oh, you won't get in trouble with the law, but losing friends, jobs, even careers are all entirely likely. (See Michael Richards, Mel Gibson, Shirley Sherrod, and the like.)

Oh, there's still plenty of racism and social injustice, but what is indisputable is that the social climate has fundamentally changed in that area -- and considerably for the better.

It's now gotten to the point where race activists have to resort to finding evidence of racism through "code words" and statistics. It's reminiscent of how astronomers look for black holes not by their presence, but inferring it from the effects it has on objects in its proximity.

But considerably less scientific, of course.

The March of Dimes is a great example of what happens when an organization achieves its goals. They recognized the power to achieve good they had harnessed, and simply redirected it towards another, broader goal.

MoveOn.org, as much as I hate to admit it, hasn't done too bad, either. They remained united as a liberal coalition (after all, even frothing moonbats need companionship) and remain a potent force among the loony left. And it's quite convenient to have them around, especially when they pull shit like the "General Betray Us" ad, when we got to see their usual coterie of congressional courtesans hem and haw about distancing themselves without alienating the nuts, and it exposed the New York Times' partisan hackery when it turned out they'd given MoveOn a huge discount on the ad -- to the point where it would have counted as a contribution.

On the other hand, MADD and the NAACP need to learn a lesson I learned a long, long time ago in the retail world: "don't sell past the close."

In the world of sales, that means once the customer says yes, don't keep pushing. At that point, you've won -- any more persuading can only cost you the sale.

Folks, you won your initial struggle. Now all you can do is keep people focused on the issue, and possibly reconsider whether they were right to buy your message.

In the case of MADD, there's a growing backlash. I'm a former member of SADD (the student version), and I'm fed up with the meddling busybodies. In the case of the NAACP, they've chosen to enter the political fray -- and they're getting their asses handed to them because the people they're choosing to oppose and attack have learned to not fear the NAACP's most potent weapon (hell, being called a "RAAAAACIST" is rapidly becoming a badge of honor), and don't care to show the deference that the NAACP has grown accustomed to enjoying.

But dang, ain't it grand entertainment?


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Comments (22)

<a href="http://www.youtube... (Below threshold)
I'm so sick of the MADDness... (Below threshold)

I'm so sick of the MADDness types as well.

That's why I joined DAMM...... (Below threshold)

That's why I joined DAMM.....Drunks Against Mad Mothers

MoveOn.org, as much as I... (Below threshold)

MoveOn.org, as much as I hate to admit it, hasn't done too bad, either.

Not so much. Their initial grassroots success seems gone. I'm constantly getting desperate pleas for money and to go to a rally so the one person organizing it doesn't get lonely since I signed up for their emails). At this point they're not what they were, they're just a Soros-funded puppet organization with a couple of wild-eyed leftists that think they have power because they have Soros' money to spend, but 'the people' aren't turning out or contributing, it doesn't look like, at least not from what I'm seeing from their pleas.

True, the organization they have become might still be doing OK, but it's not the same one it was a decade ago.

Al Bundy had a good group N... (Below threshold)

Al Bundy had a good group NOMAAM Too bad it was just fictional

I made the mistake of askin... (Below threshold)

I made the mistake of asking the bartender to "Give me my Zombies" this weekend and although I THOUGHT I had recovered from that hangover, the phrase keeps showing up where ever I look.

Dang you to Heck!

Been reading here for years... (Below threshold)
J reed:

Been reading here for years,this is my first post.-I couldnt agree more Jay-Excellent!

"But dang, ain't it grand e... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"But dang, ain't it grand entertainment?"

Not so much. The price and consequences of this 'entertainment' has gotten way out of hand.

The problem with the March ... (Below threshold)

The problem with the March of Dimes and Moveon.com is the motivation. The March of Dimes started their fight against polio. a horrible disease that afflicted many children. Everyone got behind it. During their inception and final achievement, an administrative set up was created with salaries and benefits. So, their continued "fight" is questionable. It would have been better to celebrate the disbanding of the March of Dimes. Then start a new cause.

Years ago I attended a "civic action" workshop. The speaker made it clear that single issue groups are least effective. They tend to not bend at all. And they become selfish and lose their ability to be effective over the long term. The only thing that is keeping Moveon.com going is one man. That is not a movement. That is someone that is obsessed.

NAACP, NOW, most unions, etc. have lost the narrative. They talk but do not walk. The latest stunt by NAACP is their final nail.

Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other help groups are the only thing going nowadays. ww

Willie, once you have an ef... (Below threshold)

Willie, once you have an effective operational framework in place, why disband it and then rebuild it? Unless of course you're opposed to people having permanent positions with benefits, pensions, etc., and there's no reason to oppose employees at a non-profit enjoying the same type of benefits that employees of well-run for-profit businesses enjoy.

As for your problem with "single issue" organizations: isn't that what made the March of Dimes so effective? And wouldn't it be nice if that organization would then target another single issue and bring it to a resolution?

Missed the point Hyper. The... (Below threshold)

Missed the point Hyper. The original motivation and grass roots start of an organization is pure at heart. After that, in my opinion they are an organization looking for a cause. It should always be the other way around.

JT proved the absurdity of single issue groups in his post. MADD is a great example. I think they are now an organization looking for a cause. Originally, I supported MADD. Now, they just need the job. ww

"See Michael Richards, M... (Below threshold)

"See Michael Richards, Mel Gibson, Shirley Sherrod, and the like.)"

Don Imus and the nappy headed ho charade. If there's a buck to be scammed, the NAACP Jackson and Sharpton will be there.

Its not about reparations. 'It's about get whitey'.

It's entertaining alright.

I agree: MADD sucks. But if... (Below threshold)

I agree: MADD sucks. But if you think that people are incapable of plying themselves at a cause simply because their original motivation for banding together--i.e. curing polio--is no longer relevant in our society, then I think you're short-changing a lot of good-hearted people. And what's wrong with wanting a job? What's wrong with being a professional fundraiser for non-profit organizations that want to tackle one issue at a time?

914, why don't you think Don Imus deserved to be fired for saying "nappy headed ho's"? Because he says he isn't a racist and has been really nice to some black people? Jesus dude, if Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson said "Hitler was a douchebag", would your gut instinct tell you to grow an inch-wide mustache?

J reed~"Been readi... (Below threshold)

J reed~

"Been reading here for years,this is my first post.-I couldnt agree more Jay-Excellent!"

Let Me be the first to welcome You J reed.

914, why don't you... (Below threshold)
914, why don't you think Don Imus deserved to be fired for saying "nappy headed ho's"? Because he says he isn't a racist and has been really nice to some black people? Jesus dude, if Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson said "Hitler was a douchebag", would your gut instinct tell you to grow an inch-wide mustache?

Worst example possible. Go on, make the case that Imus is racist. I double dare ya.

And, Imus bent every bone in his old back to make amends for a non-existent sin to Sharpton/Jackson, and it didn't go--why? Cuz de wuznt nuff $$$$, dumass.

Hyperbolist-... (Below threshold)


"914, why don't you think Don Imus deserved to be fired for saying "nappy headed ho's"? Because he says he isn't a racist and has been really nice to some black people? Jesus dude, if Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson said "Hitler was a douchebag", would your gut instinct tell you to grow an inch-wide mustache?"

I didn't say anything about Imus being fired. I simply stated that Sharp tongue and Jack$on show up like sharks when bloods in the water to ratchet thing's up, take donation's for coalition's, legal defense fund's. This sort of thing and naturally are in front of the camera's like leech's sucking blood from a snapper's neck.

I would say let the market place and his consumer's determine wether or not he stay's in business. Not 2 racebaiters.

Sharpton and Jackson - both... (Below threshold)

Sharpton and Jackson - both stand to lose considerable money and influence if there wasn't some sort of animosity they could game and profit from. It's kind of sad - in a way almost like a fireman who's an arsonist. He might not really want to light a fire - but when there's not enough fires, how else can he justify his job?

From the start MADD has bee... (Below threshold)

From the start MADD has been the discredited prohibition movement in new clothing.

My parents learned how to drink during prohibition and I mean really learned how to drink. It didn't stop drinking , it encouraged it. And it made everybody lawbreakers.

In fact their genration abused alcohol to a far greater degree than their children and probably than their parents. It was so "in" to get drunk, and they drank to get drunk.

It's interesting that there is now an organization of university presidents and chancellors pushing for the "repeal" of the 21 federal age manndate (mandated by the loss of 10% of federal highway funds). They say binge drinking by studients is a direct result of the illegality of alcohol. They feel bars should be the place to drink, where it can be controlled, rather uncontrolled dorms and houses.

"It's reminiscent of how a... (Below threshold)

"It's reminiscent of how astronomers look for black holes not by their presence, but inferring it from the effects it has on objects in its proximity."

Careful JayTea ... you might be a RAAAACIST!

Wouldn't mind it being ente... (Below threshold)

Wouldn't mind it being entertaining so much, Jay Tea - but the problem is that THEY don't see themselves as being entertaining, they're deadly serious in pursuing what they see as a morally unstoppable quest.

NAACP - if there isn't any racism to fight, they'll find it however they have to. No videotaped evidence? It doesn't matter - reality is not important. because it's not about the racism, it's about the power that accusations of racism gets them.

Unexpected consequences be damned - they want what they want and they don't care about anything else.

NAACP?... (Below threshold)


J Reed, I should have welco... (Below threshold)

J Reed, I should have welcomed you also. Welcome. 914, thanks for demonstrating manners.

Hyper, I said in my opinion they are an organization looking for a cause. Most of the "good hearted people" are the volunteers, which is the only saving grace. A CEO and adminstrative staff would want to keep their salaries and bennies no matter what. ww






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