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Last night during her speech to the Republican National Convention, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) sought to play up her experience as mayor of a small town in Alaska by mocking community organizing:
PALIN: And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.
Today, the nation’s leading organization’s responded to Palin’s attack:
– Center for Community Change: When Sarah Palin demeaned community organizing, she didn’t attack another candidate. She attacked an American tradition — one that has helped everyday Americans engage with the political process and make a difference in their lives and the lives of their neighbors.
– Assn. of Community Organizations for Reform Now: ACORN members, leaders and staff are extremely disappointed that Republican leaders would make such condescending remarks on the great work community organizers accomplish in cities throughout this country. The fact that they marginalize our success in empowering low- and moderate-income people to improve their communities further illustrates their lack of touch with ordinary people.
– USAction: These groups, and the millions of individuals they represent, are dismayed by the recent dismissal of their efforts in the form of political attacks. Community organizations have been at the heart of every major reform in modern history – from the Boston Tea Party to the civil rights movement for example, the quest for civil rights began when community organizers mobilized the disenfranchised.
– Community Organizers of America: The last thing we need is for Republican officials to mock us on television when we’re trying to rebuild the neighborhoods they have destroyed. Maybe if everyone had more houses than they can count, we wouldn’t need community organizers. But I work with people who are getting evicted from their only home. If John McCain and the Republicans understood that, maybe they wouldn’t be so quick to make fun of community organizers like me.
Originally posted by wutone
Maybe Obama shouldn't have belittled Palin's history ((while at the same time skipping her governorship experience) as a small town mayor in the first place.
Obama attacks Palin's experience, Palin defends herself by comparing a mayor's duties to a community organizer, community organizers get mad....
Good job at being a guy that would supposedly change American politics by starting a divisive attack cycle. Is this the new "direction?"
Statement by Obama spokesman Bill Burton: “Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same.”
Though many people are unfamiliar with community organizing, the job is both straightforward and vital: community organizers work with families who are struggling–because of low wages, poor health coverage, unaffordable housing, and other community problems–so that collectively, they can fix those problems and make government respond to their day-to-day concerns. Organizers knock on doors, attend community meetings, visit churches and synagogues and mosques, and work with unions and civic groups and block associations to help ordinary people build power and counter the influence of self-interested insiders and highly paid lobbyists at all levels of government.
-Former Governor George Pataki said: “[Barack Obama] was a community organizer. What in God’s name is a community organizer? I don’t even know if that’s a job.”
-Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said: “On the other hand, you have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a community organizer. What? [Laughter]…I said, OK, OK, maybe this is the first problem on the resume.”
-Governor Sarah Palin said: “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”