by Deona Hooper, MSW
I am always on the look out for solution focused ideas, and the new “No Labels” bipartisan think tank group appears promising especially in the midst of continued congressional grid lock. As an avid MSNBC watcher, I have to admit my ambivalent relationship with Morning Joe who often tends to lean center right in the ideological musings on the show. This show, more than anything, makes me take to Twitter to spout my discontentment with their disillusioned guests’ insights on current economic and social policy. When No Labels Co-Founder, Mark McKinnon, came on the show to discuss the vision and mission of the bipartisan think tank group, I was thoroughly impressed with the forward thinking relayed in the interview. Mark McKinnon tends to be Republican in his views, so I thought its nice to hear someone in the GOP not talking crazy.
Then last week, I was looking at the Rachel Maddow Show when I heard Cory Booker talking about the work he is doing with No Labels. This really got my attention because now No Labels is providing the visual of a true bipartisan effort. Recently, The Washington Post published an article by opinion blogger, Jennifer Rubin, entitled “No labels, No Relevance“. This “opinion blogger” inferred that No Labels would be less of a joke if it had not listed Jon Huntsman as one of its 24 Problem Solvers dedicated to finding bipartisan solutions. Fortunately for most Americans and President Obama, the GOP no longer embrace compassionate conservatism. If they did, Jon Huntsman or Chris Christie would probably be president. Most Americans want to see bipartisan efforts and collaborations which are rarely seen in our current political climate.
Then, I starting thinking how can I help support No Labels, and how can the social work profession support the No Labels agenda. The social work profession has helped shape every piece of historic legislation that weaves together the social safety net for our most vulnerable populations. Social Welfare reform is going to happen, but it should not occur without input from the social workers who implement and experience the challenges in these programs as a result of inefficient delivery of services. There are approximately 760 Schools of Social Work in the United States who are steeped in the tradition and education of improving outcomes for those who are the most vulnerable while using evidence based practices. Cuts to entitlement reforms can be done to help reduce the budget without eliminating needed programs. It would be a benefit to No Labels to reach out to social work students, leaders, and organizations to join this bipartisan movement in its effort to keep moving forward. For more information on No Labels, you can visit their website here. Also, I have attached below the video by the co-founder explaining the mission of the organization, and a joint interview with Jon Huntsman and Cory Booker.