It worries me that as a nation we are collectively being pulled out to sea by an undertow of narrowly focused values and consequent policies that are constraining the great pool of human potential that is at the heart of our society. We have lost our sense of a common good -- that combination of things that make the great promise of America tangible and accessible to people.
Some readers may know Larry Wallack as one of the pioneers and popularizers of media advocacy. Others may link him with stinging critiques of social marketing, foremost of which was the condemnation of many social marketers as practitioners who 'blamed the victim' rather than looking upstream to address the larger social, political and economic forces that lie at the heart of many public and social problems.
Over the years I have enjoyed being in meetings with Larry: he's wicked smart and funny. But I also liked watching the faces of our colleagues who were ready to see a media advocate and social marketer 'go at it' only to find that our shared vision of changing social determinants, through whatever means it takes, transcends a concern over narrowly defined advocacy and marketing tactics. Larry is currently the Dean of the College of Urban and Public
Affairs at Portland State University. He shared this July 4th op-ed piece that is based on a recent commencement piece he gave. Food for the soul of the change agent.