Sunday, September 7, 2008
I am a community organizer!
First: Giving honor to the community organizer of all community organizers.......Jesus!
I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities.
- Sarah Palin, 2008
I was appalled to hear that statement by the Republican Vice Presidential Nominee last week. The first thing that came to my mind was to wonder how the very people in Wasilla, Alaska, who helped her in her rise to political office, must feel.
Community organizers have been the building blocks for everything we enjoy in this society since its inception. Every social/political movement has its base in community organizing: When colonists of old decided that taxation without representation was not a just way to govern. When black slaves, Nat Turner and Joseph Cinquez, said enough is enough! When women, deprived of the right to vote, stood their ground and deprived their husbands the pleasure of marriage. When Dr. Martin Luther King and Minister Malcolm X juxtaposed civil disobedience and the threat of the ballot or the bullet. When Mrs. Jones deemed that her intersection was a safety hazard and organized her neighbors to petition the city for a stop sign. When neighbors organize with other neighbors to save schools, hospitals, jobs and homes from foreclosure.
Yes, the community organizers, who work diligently and often voluntarily or for very little money at all, make a difference in our communities. Madam Governor, to denigrate their worth is to sabotage your chances for success. As a one-time community organizer, I understand how an organizer connects with the neighbor, the beautician, the grocer, the postman, the local politician. I am sure you understand this principle, but you chose to abrogate this knowledge in order to bring down your opponent. We realize that principles and respect are not natural characteristics of a Republican political campaign, but your indiscretion will come back to bite you because we are people, too.
Madam Governor, the next time you need to reach out to the community for support, just remember that the community organizer is the one who can make that happen for you, if they so choose.