I proudly cross post at and work for the Courage Campaign
Last night, the country was officially introduced to John McCain's Vice Presidential pick, Governor Sarah Palin. She gave a speech full of vitriol, condescension and outright lies, but perhaps nothing was more shocking than her belittling insult of community organizers. Trying to minimize the work of Barack Obama, she said "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."
Shocking. Just a quick sampling of community organizers would include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Founding Fathers of the United States, and Jesus. Much, much further down that list would be organizations like the Courage Campaign, which exists expressly to empower online and offline grassroots activism. Because we know, like so many others, that concerted community effort is what it takes to bring about meaningful change in this country- something we could really use after eight years of Bush/McCain policy.
Well last night Sarah Palin laid out how the McCain/Palin ticket intend to run this country: With scorn and belligerence for anyone who tries to bring their communities together to make things better. The Courage Campaign has spent years trying to empower exactly the sort of grassroots initiative that's vital to bringing about meaningful change. If we're ever going to address the fundamental failings of our government, we need a new presidential administration that doesn't try to squash the little guy.
And in a speech that neglected to mention education, health care, comprehensive economic reforms, or choice, we heard in Palin's silence exactly her trouble with community organizing: An organized community is an empowered community. And an empowered community expects better. A fragmented community is more easily undercut by Republican fear mongering, more susceptible to being turned against itself by divisive, antagonistic rhetoric. The condescending language from the McCain camp, even filtered through Sarah Palin (remember the speech was written before she was selected to recite it), reeks of a multi-millionaire's elitist fear of a society willing to stand up for itself.
Last night, John McCain used Sarah Palin to spit in the face of everyone in this country who's ever tried to bring people together to make the world a better place. Anyone who's ever been in a union or professional organization. Anyone who was ever a member of the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, fraternities or sororities. Anyone who's ever participated in a Christmas toy drive at their church. Anyone who's ever supported the Salvation Army or the Red Cross. Everyone who's ever volunteered to mentor children or serve at a soup kitchen. Everyone who's ever registered voters, or wrote a letter to the editor. Anyone who's participated in groups like Kiwanis or Knights of Columbus. Everyone who's ever been a member of the VFW or other veteran groups. Anyone who's ever volunteered for their local neighborhood watch or- much to Governor Palin's chagrin- the PTA.
Those people don't count in the world of John McCain. Not only that, McCain opts to heap scorn rather than praise on those people who put in the effort to make this country stronger. Which really tells you all you need to know about John McCain: His greatest derision is reserved for the people working the hardest to improve America.
We have an opportunity to throw this back in John McCain's face at every level. Because the people who care about this country are already involved in all the organizations above and more. Community organizers are the ones who run community political messaging. They're the ones who run GOTV operations. And they're the ones who can deliver on election day.