Friday, September 5, 2008

Why they Hate Community Organizing.

John McCain stumbled through a speech last night arguing for change? But the Republicans have been running Washington since 1994?

The line of attack in the GOP convention that troubled me the most was their derision of community organizing. I write this as a person who is a few years younger than Barack Obama.

When I was in my mid twenties I worked as a Lay Missioner for the Franciscans in Bolivia and it is the seminal event of my life. I learned amazing things and it made my life better. I got to serve people and learn about another place and it gave me empathy and changed my world-view.

Yet at the convention Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin felt it neccessary to deride Barack Obama's time, three years, of service. John McCain's very real service to country is laudable Obama's service to the poor in Chicago is laughable to Palin and Giuliani.

  • Are we to dismiss the work of Peace Corp and Americorp volunteers?
  • Are we to dismiss people who work with the poor or the homeless?
  • Is being a volunteer or community organizer less than say being a lawyer or politician in a small town?
The reason they hate 'community organizing' is because they do not like what happens when it succeeds. If you look at the greatest community organizers in our nation's history they are all hated by people of Palen/Giuliani ilk. In our own Chicago you had people like Jane Addams whose organizing work challenged the exploitation of immigrants. In California Cesar Chavez challenged the exploitation of farm workers. In New York Dorothy Day challenged the materialism of our nation and housed the homeless and clothed the naked. Most spectacularly Martin Luther King changed a nation- organizing people against evil. These people changed society in ways that the people on the floor of the GOP convention resent and they made that very clear this week.

These are all people hated by the Bush-McCain-Palin party because they lift the curtain on who they really care about- the powerful and the in power. The most important thing about the GOP week is not that he nominated a woman or that Mc Cain is a hero- the most important thing is that the Republicans do not believe that people- ordinary people have a right to change the world- that is best left to 'heros' like Giuliani & Palin

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