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.
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.
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.
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.Shame on Sarah.
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.
Labels: Sarah Palin