I have been trying to understand change (both ongoing and intentional) since an epiphany I had in late 1970. Although I was always interested in change as a part of my personal framework of meaning, most of my effort to learn about change has been motivated by my membership in, and my commitment to, the disability community.
Over the last year, I have been trying to frame what I have learned so that disability advocates can make better use of these ideas to actively respond to the large-scale degradation of social, political, and financial life that American society is currently undergoing. This degradation is not just a result of the current administration, but a longstanding trend in our society that has paralleled and sometimes contextualized our successful rights activism.
This degradation is beginning to overwhelm our historically effective approach to rights advocacy, an approach based on what were reasonable assumptions at the time. These assumptions are gradually being corrupted, undermining our previous ways of building personal autonomy and freedom of choice.
While we must resist this degradation, resistance will not be nearly enough to preserve our community’s values. There will be no going back to what we considered stability. We will need to simultaneously use whatever remains available to us in our larger society, resist the agenda of degradation that is the current reality, and create something new.
Very difficult to actually pull off.
We need a strategy. We need a larger way to think about what we face.
We need a strategy. Not an operational plan or a logic model or an advocacy tactic, or any of the other things we regularly and wrongly call a strategy.
We need a real strategy!