Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio
Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.
Segment 1: Why hot-button issues don't really matter
CFU board member
The municipal utility in Cedar Falls is saluting Roger Kueter, an outgoing board member with more than twenty years of service to his credit. What we too often overlook in America is how much we are defined not by the people at the top of our political system, but by the people who keep the economy and government both functioning on a local level. Everyone has an opinion on who should be in the White House, but arguably it matters far more to most people's day-to-day lives who is running things in City Hall or at the local utility. Who knows what Roger Kueter's opinions are on the hot-button issues of the day? Maybe he's outspoken on them, or maybe he's not. But he's been serving an important role at a major community institution for two decades, and his hot-button opinions don't matter much when he's responsible for helping his community to (literally) keep the lights on. We ought to do a better job of celebrating the lower-profile roles that really make America work. It's easy to envy highly-paid roles on corporate boards, but we need to honor those who put their services to work on a smaller, more local scale.
We fail ourselves as a civilization when we fetishize, professionalize, and corporatize too much of our charity.
By that, I mean to criticize:
- Fetishize: Too many people think of non-profit work as morally superior to for-profit work, when instead most of us are engaged in for-profit work and need make no excuse for it. We should all, though, also have a commitment to doing something charitable or civic with some of our non-working hours.
- Professionalize: By fetishizing non-profit work as something that the "morally superior" do, we create a class of people who become isolated in a non-profit labor force, where actually solving problems takes a back seat to perpetuating the job. That's not to say that there aren't plenty of devoted, caring, generous people who work in non-profit sectors. But the phrase "non-profit-industrial complex" isn't without some merit.
- Corporatize: Does anyone really believe that the really enormous non-profit organizations are in business to put themselves out of business?