“Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a Governor” According to a post by Andrew Golis, at least half a dozen folks have been cited for that quote.
Yeah! Bring it on. More defenses of my vocation, community organizing:
“Community organizer isn’t being used to describe a job but a background. Obama organized poor black people. Helped channel their anger and grievances and anxieties. That’s change you can fear.”
So here is what Giuliani and Palin didn’t know: Obama was working for a group of churches that were concerned about their parishioners, many of whom had been laid off when the steel mills closed on the south side of Chicago. They hired Obama to help those stunned people recover and get the services they needed–job training, help with housing and so forth–from the local government. It was, dare I say it, the Lord’s work–the sort of mission Jesus preached (as opposed to the war in Iraq, which Palin described as a “task from God.”)
But one of the (many) attacks Palin leveled last night was part of a broader GOP push against Obama’s years as a community organizer. I even heard Newt Gingrich on Fox the other day claiming that Obama was “wandering around the south side.” You know, like a homeless person, or something. I suppose it’s not surprising that Republican politicians aren’t enthused about community organizers since often they’re the ones who are getting their ass kicked by them.
Community organizers aren’t just those rabble-rousers who help keep people from getting evicted or protest police brutality — they’re basically the ordinary people across the political spectrum who to try hold government accountable to its citizens. Mocking that really shows how much contempt the party has for ordinary people. Republicans look down their noses at alleged “elites” while directing their anger at community organizers, who actually live and work among the people politicians only pay attention to when they’re looking for votes.
An old friend of mine, Janice Fine, is a veteran community organizer, and she uses the following role-play when she teaches other organizers how to organize. She pulls a person from the audience and then starts pushing them aggressively, while asking the person and the audience, “What do you do when you’re being pushed around by a bully? What do you do? Huh?” Sooner or later someone answers, “You get your friends to help fight back.” And a few people walk up to help push Janice back. That’s what’s happening now. Sarah Palin’s elevation first generated a big response for McCain, but the Republican attacks on the heart of Obama’s campaign — community organizing — is going to foster a huge response. I predict Obama will raise $10 million online today and tomorrow.
Welcome to the Thunderdome.
UPDATE: The NYTimes Caucus blog is reporting that Obama has already raised $8 million and is on track to raise $10M by tonight. With 130,000 people kicking in, that’s about $61 per donation, on average.