Saturday, September 06, 2008

Revenge of the Community Organizers

In response to the McCain/Palin ticket's hateful mockery of community organizers, the latter have set up a website in their own defense. Here are some of the justifiably indignant comments of community organizers to Sarah Palin and Mayor "9/11, 9/11, 9/11!," both of whom denigrated, scorned, and taunted organizers at last week's GOP necktie party:

“Community organizers work in neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by the failing economy,” said John Raskin, founder of Community Organizers of America and a community organizer on the West Side of Manhattan. “The last thing we need is for Republican officials to mock us on television when we’re trying to rebuild the neighborhoods they have destroyed. Maybe if everyone had more houses than they can count, we wouldn’t need community organizers. But I work with people who are getting evicted from their only home. If John McCain and the Republicans understood that, maybe they wouldn’t be so quick to make fun of community organizers like me.”

“I have ‘actual responsibilities,’” said Jacqueline del Valle, a community organizer in the Bronx. “If Mayor Giuliani and President Bush cared more about working people instead of just people who can hire high-powered lobbyists, maybe I wouldn’t have so much responsibility. Maybe working people would have an easier time in America today. But that’s not our reality, and they don’t have to mock us while we’re trying to clean up their mess.”
That's the heart of the matter, though, it's wealthy lobbyists who garner the respect and admiration of elected officials, precisely because community organizers cannot bring the politicians the bling that lobbyists can. Organizing does not lead former administration officials and political lackeys to ease into jobs lobbying for corporations to leverage more tax breaks and special treatment by giving the politicians more money.

That's exactly why Sarah Palin spits out her hatred for organizers. They can't do anything for her because they're too busy working to help people who work multiple low-paying jobs while trying to care for the their families leverage what political power they can up against the corporate Goliaths and their concubines in the lobby industry. Palin the politician wants power and money and they can't deliver either one. Organizers are the representatives of people at the grassroots level in the absence of adequate representation at the legislative level, and that vacuum is due to lobbyists who short-circuit representative democracy with money and special favors.

So the question bears repeating: who is more worthy of scorn? Community organizers or the lobbyists who help Sarah Palin stay in office?

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