Evangelical Jim Wallace:
Wednesday night, I heard Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, say that her experience as “a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” The convention crowd in St. Paul thought that was very funny. But it wasn’t. It was actually quite insulting to the army of community organizers who work in the most challenging places across the country and have such a tremendous impact on the every day lives of millions of people. I guess Sarah Palin and her fellow Republican delegates don’t know much about that. The “actual responsibilities” of community organizers literally provide the practical support, collective strength, and hope for a better future that low-income families need to survive.
“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 faith’s positive role in public life,” said Pastor Mark Diemer, senior pastor of Grace of God Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio and a DART community organizer.
I’m sure Sarah Palin never wrote that clever Rovian put down of Barack Obama, she just read it off the teleprompter like a good soldierette. It never entered her pretty little head that she was disparaging the service of thousands upon thousands of people who toil among their communities’ poor and disadvantaged citizens with an aim to make a better world.
She was speaking to the Republican audience at St Paul, half of whom enjoy a personal net worth of over a million dollars; what they understood her to mean had nothing to do with scruffing about on the streets with poor minorities.
The “leather boot” goes up their snoot, by way of wearing it out on the sidewalks of our inner-cities and the pavement of suburbia; the real energy of democracy will always emanate from the souls of men and women who love one another in a way that never fails to engender selfless service. And that is what the “base” Republicans “don’t get.” That is what makes them the scourge of true democracy. That is what divides our people and destroys our unity.
WHAT POLITICIAN DOES NOT KNOW WHAT A COMMUNITY ORGANIZER IS? There are millions of people who do this thankless work. They do everything to help. At 41, I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. My insurance maxed at a million. Bankruptcy was next. I had five kids, 3 were my sister’s, who died at 39. I had an insurance policy owned by my children, which was paid in full.
Killing myself seemed the perfect way out. The kids could go to college, buy the house back, and stay together. I know, it was my fault for having a disease so I should have no insurance. My son suspected something, left, and returned with a lovely woman from the church. She told me that they would do everything they could to help me.
I thought this was a joke, but the joke was on me. They found a decent home, moved us, fed my kids, drove them to their activities, paid $1,000+ a month for my medicine, etc. I absolutely adore these loving people. Someone comes over at least twice a day.
Hopefully, organizers are busy registering voters to make sure [Sarah Palin] never sees the inside of the Oval Office. Keep up the insults. Obama gets those votes. Face the fact dear, you are only on this ticket because you have a vagina. You also appeal to the gun lobby as a “moose hunting, salmon fishing, pistol packing mother,” who needs to learn a hell of a lot more before you go anywhere.
No “actual responsibilities,” huh?
Well, none that are written down for you. None that are not taken on voluntarily. None that will bring you great wealth or recognition in this life. The candidate who understands this kind of responsibility has a chance to lead our nation to a new understanding of what it means to be American, to live up to the promise of our highest values. Help make Barack Obama our president, and we’ll see what “actual responsibilities” mean to a real man of the people.