Friday, August 02, 2013

When does service and volunteerism slip into proselytizing? Ask Obamacare

As much viperous rhetoric “Obamacare” has drawn, nothing might match the idea that, to get healthy people in lower income areas to buy individual health insurance (to help pay for insurance for those with pre-existing conditions), Enroll America (link) has actually enlisted unpaid volunteers to go door-to-door to sell it
Sandhya Somasdhekhar has a front page story in the Washington Post Friday, August 2, 2013, link here.
In fact, the Post reports that it takes repeat visits to one person to make a “sale”.
Having spent all these years as an “amateur” journalist committed to some pretense of objectivity (or perhaps objectivism itself), I can’t imagine myself going door-to-door to proselytize anything. Or calling people to sell things – although I used to call for the Minnesota Orchestra and then the National Symphony from 2002 to 2003.  But nevermore!
It seems that the course I took cut me out of personal salesmanship forever. I don’t like to approach people to sell them things, and I don’t like to be approached.
A lot of people may feel that way, but it doen’t bode well for the economy or social stability. With fewer “real” jobs around, people depend on willingness of others to buy from them as salespepople so they can earn a living just on commissions.  Instead, they’re met with contempt.
Obamacare has taken the idea of service into the area of the commitment expected of a Mormon missionary.  The Washington Times will have fun with this.
But I do have an issue myself.  I tend to look at people as intrinsically good or not, much as is the case in the non-human natural world.  So I don’t get the emotional charge of interacting someone whom I perceive as not getting it.  But then why would someone get anything out of what I write?  
There’s a bit of a contradiction.

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