Sunday, September 7, 2008

Why do Republicans Hate Community Organizers?

From the Republican National Convention:

Rudy Giuliani:  
“You have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a — community organizer.”  He paused and then said, “What?” as if to express befuddlement at that job title.

Giuliani had eloquent body language — a dismissive half-shrug — as he said the words, “community organizer.”  Immediately the delegates on the convention floor burst into laughter and guffaws.  (MSNBC)
Sarah Palin:  
"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."
From a story about local community organizers in the Metro Section of today's New York Times:
Still, it didn’t seem as if the festivities in St. Paul and Minneapolis had a huge impact on what was going on in the office [24 year old Peter] Nagy shares with Ann Sullivan, 51, who has been building up Acorn’s Long Island network since the mid-1990s.

Mr. Nagy began Friday at Hempstead High School, meeting with officials about registering students to vote, then returned to his office with its décor of newspaper clippings taped to walls, posters reading “Fair Housing. It’s not an Option. It’s the Law,” the Acorn newspaper with the front-page headline “Foreclosure Fighters,” and slightly unexpected bumper stickers reading: “God is Good All the Time.”

He and Ms. Sullivan met briefly with a Hempstead resident named Angela Davis, who has cerebral palsy and had worries about safety and services in her building. She lamented how hard it was to get residents to voice their concerns. “People are afraid to come forward,” she said. “They’re afraid they’re going to be evicted.”

Later there were meetings with tenants of a residence for the elderly, and with other residents facing foreclosure, and then time knocking on doors in Westbury to try to make contacts and generate interest in a meeting about foreclosure issues.
This paragraph from the same story may explain why Republicans hate community organizers so much:
“There are different kinds of power,” said Bertha Lewis, executive director of New York Acorn. “There’s electoral power. Movie stars have fame. Billionaires have money. Low- and moderate-income people have their numbers, and every great movement for social justice — Nelson Mandela preaching against apartheid, civil rights — have all been led by community organizers who took action and held their elected officials accountable.”
Oh, and by the way, the morning after Sarah Palin's speech, John McCain cancelled a previously scheduled appearance before a Twin Cities gathering of community organizers from Habitat for Humanity.  

For more on community organizers vs. the GOP go here.

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