Reason #23: Because Community Organizing IS Relevant

Community and organizing are not dirty embarrassing words to be mocked – as Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin did at the RNC with cocky giggles – as if somehow being a champion for social justice is a detriment for Obama.

Giuliani said, “Community Organizing is the first problem on Obama’s resume.”

It’s, in fact, the very gold on his resume.

Consensus building, empowering disenfranchised populations, brokering equality, and practicing inclusiveness – these are the polished jewels that reveal Obama’s leadership proficiency, and where his presidential policies will converge.

In a similar jab, Palin contorted her face and chirped, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer…..except that you have actual responsibilities.”

Apparently, Giuliani and Palin do not recall our history steeped in struggle – those pesky community organizers of our past that accomplished the unthinkable.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress,” said Frederick Douglass.

A band of Colonists dumping tea in Boston Harbor, Elizabeth Cady Stanton launching the women’s movement from her living room. Frail and soft-spoken Gandhi leading the Indian Independence Movement – often from prison or his fasting bed. Helen Keller seeing the light in the labor movement, Martin Luther King, Jr demanding civil rights. Oh, and that one guy….Jesus – he was a community organizer!

These are my heroes. Sages that began on the small stage in the backyard speaking truth.

Finally, we’ll have a president that really cares about social justice. A president that in a silent but salient way has ALREADY worked to reform schools, convert black churches into agents of social change, empower neighborhoods, remove asbestos, and register voters (which helped Carol Moseley Braun become the first black woman ever elected to the Senate.)

Obama’s roots in community organizing disclose not only his mission of justice, but also his vision of politics. In 1995 Obama asked “What if a politician were to see his job as that of an organizer, as part teacher and part advocate, one who does not sell voters short, but who educates them about the real choices before them?”

Michelle Obama told a reporter in 1996, “Barack is not a politician first and foremost. He’s a community activist exploring the viability of politics to make change.”

Community Organizing is synonymous with America and our lineage of grassroots change, civil disobedience, protest, social action, and justice for all. Doesn’t  “Government of the people, by the people, for the people” sound presidential?”  Lincoln thought so.

While the critics of community organizing may see it as a silly little hobby or bleeding heart volunteerism, its legacy should be among our proudest – and is exactly what our country now needs most. Thankfully, Obama will soon organize not only the community of America, but also the world.

– Brook, mother, business owner, and patriot of progress!, Boulder, Colorado

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2 Responses to “Reason #23: Because Community Organizing IS Relevant”

  1. Carol Says:

    Right on Brook! You hit the nail on the head. Check out this article from The Nation following the RNC that provides additional background to the history of community organizing in the US, and how it is a central bi-partisan strategy, not some fringe uber-liberal freak endeavor: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/09/06-5

  2. jtebeau Says:

    Well said. You get to the heart of what makes Obama different than the kinds of politician we’ve seen in the past century or so.

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