Community Organizers STRIKE BACK
From the Nation
posted by Christopher Hayes on 09/04/2008 @ 11:33am
You know what’s fun? Sitting in a room with thousands of people who run the country and listening to them unleash their full fury at how unfairly they’re been treated. It’s like listening to Caligula whine.
But I digress. Like pretty much everyone, I think Sarah Palin proved herself an adept and talented politician last night. I also think. and have thought since she was named, that she’s a distraction. a “rabbit” as Tom Schaller wrote, that the GOP is hoping Democrats chase.
But one of the (many) attacks Palin leveled last night was part of a broader GOP push against Obama’s years as a community organizer. I even heard Newt Gingrich on Fox the other day claiming that Obama was “wandering around the south side.” You know, like a homeless person, or something.
I suppose it’s not surprising that Republican politicians aren’t enthused about community organizers since often they’re the ones who are getting their ass kicked by them. (Just ask Rudy.) Also, I’m assuming they didn’t read The Nation‘s forum on just this topic in the last issue.
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.