Thursday, September 4, 2008

A letter to Sarah Palin on Community Organizing

Last night, like many other Americans, I was really interested to see what Gov. Palin would say in her acceptance speech, and although I have never had any plans on voting for the Republican ticket, Palin did seem like a good one in my mind and to a certain extent I liked Palin, her husband was a United Steelworker and seemed to understand the importance of building working class power.

Then she had to say it, "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities." The attack that she made was obviously centered at Obama who spent his time in between undergrad and law school organizing displaced Steelworkers. Then I was pissed, and I was offended as hell as someone who works to improve our community.

Palin might have just as well have given every community organization, non-profit and grassroots organization the bird. We as community organizers have been the people on the ground in the face of the flood of economic destruction caused by big politicians and people like herself that have no regard for the people at the bottom; who care so much for America and its people that they are willing to take jobs that don't pay the big bucks, but instead empower the people who are most marginalized. When public funding is cut for programs that help alleviate poverty that many Republicans are notorious for, they simply think that the problems disappear, I can assure you that they don't and its the community organizers that then step in to help empower folks in poverty and help them build a voice.

Let me give you a little history lesson Ms. Palin, it was the community organizers that were the ones that overcame and eventually got rid of segregation laws in the civil rights movement, it was the community organizers that fought for workers to get the 8 hour workday, it was the community organizers who founded the inner city food pantries, homeless shelters, it is the community organizers in Milwaukee and Ohio that collected the signatures necessary to get a Paid Sick Day referendum on the ballot that would guarantee a standard for workers getting Paid Sick Days with their jobs to take care of their kids, and yes, it was even the organizers that built Mr. Palin's union that you seem so proud of.

Since you probably don't know what a community organizer is let me explain it to you very clearly. The main objective of a community organizer or any organizer is to build power amongst people who have none, to inspire new leaders in the community to stand up for the issues that they believe in, to get people to believe that they are worth more and have more power to fix the issues facing their local community than they believe they do, community organizers job is to empower their communities to get involved, to join "PTA" and change the way that things are going.

Ms. Palin, democracy is a government of the people by the people for the people, political leaders like yourself are the people that we elect to do what we want done. But community organizers are us, whether by profession or not, we attempt to make a difference in their communities.

Ms. Palin, you obviously have no idea what you are talking about and obviously don't have the experience to lead this country. And the more you try to separate yourself from everyday people involved in our community, the more your going to get your ass kicked in this election. We are taking back this country, and as we do it you might begin to understand the power of community organizing and the importance and responsibility that it holds in making positive social change.