A Day of Blogging for Justice: I am a Community Organizer

(NOTE)  This is a preliminary post…Links, details and further rants and rails are forthcoming after I leave school.

In the football game of life, the community organizer is the fullback; the lead blocking reliable check-down receiver who takes all the punishment to enable the other skill players to shine.

In the basketball game of life, the community organizer is the board crashing, pick setting, charge taking power forward who has no plays run for him

In the baseball game of life, the community organizer is the utility player who can play any position effectively, leads the team in sacrifice bunts and every other intangible that never shows up in the box score.

Any chance Sarah Palin had of registering on my radar of people I respect evaporated the moment she talked about my momma.

My mother was  is a community organizer.  She spent the entirety of my puberty putting in 45-80 hours a week bringing the gospel (and carbs) of the Girl Scouts to previously unserved housing projects in outlying parts of Allegheny County. 

Now she is a supervisor for a transitional housing unit for mothers who have completed drug treatment programs.

Being a community organizer, in my broad definition applies to anyone who is involved in building people and communities.

There is a delicious, yet thus far untasted irony in having Alaska Governor Sarah Palin take shots at not just one person who was once a community organizer but at the very notion of community organizing.

Take a look at this analysis of the Palin Mystique in slate

Of course, conservatives are partly lining up behind Palin just so they can stay in the game. But it’s not all crass opportunism. To any religious conservative, Palin, with all her contradictions and hypocrisies, is a very familiar type in this peculiar moment in evangelical history.

Starting in the 1970s, leaders such as Dobson began rewriting the rules of the traditional Christian marriage to make it more palatable in an age of feminism. Domestic work was elevated to a special calling; Christian women were told their child-rearing decisions had national implications, as they were raising a generation of righteous soldiers. Mom took on a political tinge. Home-schooling mothers dragged their large broods to volunteer in campaigns. Like with many Christian moms of her generation, Palin’s résumé starts with the PTA.

What really grates me about Palin’s diss is what she MEANT.

Palin wasn’t trying to insult ALL community orgainzers, because she WAS one. 

Palin was insulting the very idea that OTHER people who are community organizers for THEIR (read: inferior) communities.

That one of those OTHER community organizers would have the audacity to think that preparing out of work steelworkers from an international city like Chicago for the coming 21st century economy was in anyway comparable to being involved with the Wasilla, AK PTA is simply more than she can stand. 

As I write this, the very notion that I should devote a lot of time to Gov. Palin comes off as casting pearls after swine.


The truth is, Gov. Palin has nothing against the idea of Community Orgainzing.  She WANTS communities to be orgainzed.  Even yours.

Gov. Palin doesn’t think orgainzing communities counts as preparation for a career in Politics….unless it is HER community or one like it.

So if you will excuse me, I will go back to orgainzing my community and leave Gov. Palin to her bigoted and small-minded notions of experience.


  1. FreeMan Press

    C’mon you see the Hustle! They are trying to demean Obama and/or make him look like a Black agitator. If they make him look like he’s Al Sharpton all these small town whites will think they are electing Sharpton. Also, if they demean him and his profession they make it look like they are electing the guy who organizes Youth Basketball at the local YMCA.

    You are dealing with some crafty devils you have to be able to see the con. Too bad the masses are hesitant to vote for Obama and they are just looking for a viable reason to go ahead and confirm their biggotry.

  2. Pingback: In Honor of Community Organizing | A Slant Truth

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