Let’s Hear It for Sarah Palen!

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After Barack Obama, Sarah Palan has done more for community organizing than anyone else in the last 40 years. “A mayor is sort of life a community organizer, only with actual responsibilities” What a great line! Sure, it’s a crock, but lots of people loved it and everyone noticed. When’s the last time c.o got noticed by 35 million people?

And by he way, who was laughing? A bunch of white guys who look like me, except their ties are more expensive. They should laugh: after all, organizers have been running environmental campaigns that threatened their toxic run-offs, stopped the developers among their ranks from completely bulldozing the Everglades, kept pro-choice clinics open for scared teens, made sure people saw that the last three wars were kinda horrible, and generally worked to make their corporate lives miserable.

So I’m not angry at her, I’m glad she’s around. If you ask me, the anger I keep reading about is too defensive in tone, and she’ll win the day if we stay on the defensive. Relax, community organizers, relax! Instead of defending each other, I say take it to her: she’s lousy on the environment, scary on abortion, doesn’t believe in equal pay for equal work, and has dictatorial tendencies to those who disagree with her. That’s more than enough to organize around, don’t you think?

When’s the last time community organizers got so much attention? Maybe never. Think of all the campaigns organizers have been a part of that we can’t get any notice. Half the time that’s our hardest job, right? A long time ago, no one noticed that women were showing up in emergency rooms with broken bones and bruises, or that GRID was anything more than a gay disease people deserved to get, and that maybe, just maybe, all that childhood asthma in poor communities is caused by parental indifference. How did those issues move from unknown ‘personal’ troubles to social problems that stopped blaming people and instead required societal and governmental response?

That answer is simple: people affected by the problem, and the organizers working with them were responsible. And unlike some small town mayors, they did it without well-paid lobbyists. After all, organizers are a lot like small town mayors, only they fulfill their responsibilities without actual benefit of town revenues.


I agree with the good professor--we need to get off our heels and get back to the hard work of organizing the natural base of the democratic party, such that there is a natural base and a democratic party-based on the issues that we all care about. SP is a distraction. All the polling coming out--a distraction. The yahoo study on racism--a distraction. We just have to focus, focus, focus--we know the the deal with this election. Only two weeks left until voter registration deadlines then the real work begins- getting our people out to the polls. I'm signing up to pick up people and driving them to the polls on e-day. For me, SP is an inspiration in 2008 like RReagan was in 1980. The choice is soooo clear. We only have 7 short weeks to make an impact on this contest. As Bernice Reagon Johnson would sing "we who believe in freedom can not rest until it comes."

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Burghardt published on September 10, 2008 9:00 AM.

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