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Thursday, September 04, 2008

John Lewis was a Community Organizer. MLK too.

I didn't particularly like the whole "Jesus Was a Community Organizer - Pontius Pilate Was A Governor" that's floating around the blogosphere. So there's my own spin on things.

As most everyone knows by now, Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin completely dissed all those who are involved in community organizing last night with this quip:
I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.
Sarah Palin & Rudy G were making fun of a young man who decided after graduating from college to "serve a cause greater than himself" to use McCain's own words. Obama had a great response though. Here he is:
Why would that kind of work be ridiculous? Who are they fighting for? What are they advocating for? They think that the lives of those folks who are struggling each and every day, that working with them to try to improve their lives is somehow not relevant to the presidency? I think maybe that's the problem -- that's part of why they're out of touch and they don't get it 'cause they haven't spent much time working on behalf of those folks.
According to the Faith in Public Life blog, faith-based community organizing leaders have begun to speak out about the "actual responsibilities" of community organizers and "their tremendous impact every day on the lives of millions of Americans.

Here's what Bishop Roy Dixon, a prelate in the Church of God in Christ, had to say:
As a life-long Republican, the comments I heard last night about community organizing crossed the line. It is one thing to question someone's experience, another to demean the work of millions of hard working Americans who take time to get involved in their communities. When people come together in my church hall to improve our community, they're building the Kingdom of God in San Diego. We see the fruits of community organizing in safer streets, new parks, and new affordable housing. It's the spirit of democracy for people to have a say and we need more of it.
And this from Pastor Mark Diemer of Grace of God Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio:
Politicians should thank community organizers, not insult them. As a longtime organizer, I've seen time and time again that we are the ones who make government work for the poor, the powerless and the marginalized. Politicians' policies and promises would amount to nothing without grassroots activists to hold them accountable. We are leaders of faith and stewards of democracy. In a time when the face of faith in politics is often ugly, community organizing is a valuable example of faith's positive role in public life.
Read other quotes from community organizers here.

A group of Community Organizers have even created a website to respond to the attacks from Sarah Palin, Rudy G, and former New York Governor George Pataki who said, "What in God's name is a community organizer? I don't even know if that's a job." Good thing for Rudy and George that they are no longer in public office. I suspect there are more than a few community organizers in New York.

But back to Sarah Palin. Here's a gem from a journalist with The Nation:
But this kind of hits me where I live, since my dad is a community organizer, so lemme spell this out: the difference between a community organizer and a politician is that a community organizer can't tell anyone what to do. They have to listen. So they can't order books banned from a library to indulge their own religious sensibilities. They can't fire someone because they didn't follow orders to fire an estranged family member. They can't ram through a $15 million dollar sports complex that leaves their local town groaning underneath the debt. Unlike politicians, they don't have any power other than the power of people who want to see something changed.

Decades ago, before the ADA and a raft of other legislation, schools had essentially no requirements to provide decent education for special needs children. Then a movement of parents, engaging in - gasp - community organizing changed that. And they continue to fight day in and day out for educational equity for children like Sarah Palin's.

Too bad Sarah Palin just spit in their faces.
Shame on Sarah.



Blogger Georgia Mountain Man said...

Great post! When I heard her say that, I thought, boy is she going to hear from that one. There are too many hard working community "organizers" out there who work to help their fellow man and to better their communities. They all vote as well. Interesting.

5:43 AM

Blogger Cat's Dad said...

"Politicians should thank community organizers, not insult them."

Similarly, politicians should thank mayors, not make light of their responsibility.

Context is everything, BDW, and Palin's comments were in the context of answering Obama's salvo regarding who's more (or less) qualified by experience to serve in the executive branch of government.

Take a chill pill, all you community organizers.

9:15 PM

Blogger The Whited Sepulchre said...

A better approach for the Republicans to take would have been along the line of "you shouldn't call your self a Community Organizer unless you were actually able to organize something".

See the current issue of The New Republic (not a right wing mag by anyone's standards)

2:11 AM

Blogger foxofbama said...


It is imperative you call me on the phone ASAP.
And Email me.

See my last two blogs. I need some immediate assistance for Truett's sake.
I have pmmed you at bl.com and emailed you.


The bumper sticker is already out, you know.
Add Oscar Romero to community organizer and to Governors add Faubus, Lester Maddox, Pontius Pilate and George Curley Wallace and Strom Thurmond
I think you could put Putin in that bunch too.

1:01 PM

Anonymous mike said...

You completely missed the point. She was not knocking community organizers' contributions to society. I believe her point was that, unlike being a mayor or governor, being a community organizer is not an actual job with responsibilities, quantifiable benchmarks, and accountability.

9:35 AM

Blogger Alexis said...

Um, community organizing is an ACTUAL Job with ACTUAL responsibilities.

Unless you are ready to redefine the terms "JOB" and "RESPONSIBILITY," you're the one who has "completely missed the point."

11:04 AM

Blogger Ken Coffee said...

What other politician do you know who has an 80% approval rating. The lady must do something right!

12:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What other politician do you know who has an 80% approval rating. The lady must do something right!"

I guess by this logic, George Bush must be doing something seriously wrong. Let's hope that if elected, McCain charts a completely different course for our nation.

1:35 PM

Anonymous Prentice said...

I agree with Mike that most of you are completely missing the point that Palin made. She had been attacked hard by the Dims for only being Mayor of a small town before her election as Governor of the largest state in the Union. Her brilliant response was to compare being Mayor to being a "Community organizer." She Nailed It. And now McCain is leading in the polls!! B'diddy, call Fox Obama. He desperately needs help. USAF Chaplain.

4:31 PM

Anonymous Jeremy said...

Prentice -

Indeed she was trying to make a comparison...and in that comparison she says that being mayor has ACTUAL RESPONSIBILITIES as opposed to a community organizer.

Why are some Palin supporters so desperately trying to defend this comment?

She would be smart to apologize to community organizers and move on. Instead, she will hear about it through the rest of the campaign season.

8:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And typical of liberal elites to think that communities need some Ivy-league educated outsider to come in and 'organize' their communities for them, because, of course, the actual people who live there and have their lives invested in their communities are too dimwitted to do it themselves...

5:32 PM

Anonymous KGray said...

Journalist Christopher Hayes of the Nation, in the excerpt you quote, has run with some now-debunked rumors about Sarah Palin.

I don't care if it's Obama is really a Muslim or Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy, wanted Alaska to secede, and banned books from the library, this is nothing but disinformation.

I've read the court papers on "Troopergate." I hope you will, too; they're online. Facts are helpful.

More facts please, journalists, before you all lose your actual responsibilities.

9:38 PM

Anonymous "rush" said...

"You can put lipstick on a community organizer, but that doesn't make a presidential candiadate." He also said, "Nobody with pigs' ears should make pig comments."

1:04 PM

Blogger Joe said...

"...Sarah Palin completely dissed all those who are involved in community organizing last night with this quip:..."

That's a lie.

She dissed Barack Obama, not all community organizers.

You are smart enough to realize that aren't you?

I sure hope so, because you have a lot of half-truth points of view.

You seem to take the approach, "This is what I want to be true, so I will say (or write) it and it will be true."

Truth is what actually happened.

4:10 AM


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